Wednesday 13th March, 2013
DLP are pleased to present a new publication from GIZ entitled 'Triangular Cooperation: A guideline for working in practice', edited by Julia Langendorf, Nadine Piefer, Prof. Dr. Michèle Knodt, Dr. Ulrich Müller, and Lena Lázaro Rüther. Triangular cooperation is an interesting tool for development cooperation, linking North-South and South-South cooperation. However, there are still many open questions. In a joint approach of academia and practice, this publication attempts to give answers and presents illustrative cases to discuss the different aspects of triangular cooperation in practice.
Thursday 31st January, 2013
The Australian Aid Program has a strong interest in development issues in the Pacific. Though traditionally it has taken a rather technical, administrative and managerial approach to such issues, its recent public literature (and that of other aid agencies) reflects the green shoots of important new thinking around the importance of political and governance processes that can decisively promote or restrain development - and hence a more effective use of aid resources. This DLP Background Paper provides a short survey of the literature in the field and an assessment of the extent to which such research and policy announcements have really helped to provide and institutionalise a more politically informed understanding of development.
Tuesday 22nd January, 2013
As a recent DLP Research Paper showed, remarkably little serious academic research has been devoted to the role of leadership in the politics of development, though it is commonly referred to in policy documents as an important factor. While there is a substantial literature in the fields of business studies, corporate management and psychology, there remains a significant deficit in relation to development issues, but two important recent academic studies have begun to reduce that deficit. The second, by Robert Rotberg, 'Transformative Political Leadership: Making a difference in the developing world' is reviewed below.
Monday 14th January, 2013
As a recent DLP Research Paper showed, remarkably little serious academic research has been devoted to the role of leadership in the politics of development, though it is commonly referred to in policy documents as an important factor. While there is a substantial literature in the fields of business studies, corporate management and psychology, there remains a significant deficit in relation to development issues, but two important recent academic studies have begun to reduce that deficit. The first by Melo, Ng'ethe, & Manor 'Against the Odds: Politicians, institutions, and the struggle against poverty' is reviewed below.
Wednesday 21st November, 2012
It is now widely agreed that good state-business relations (SBRs) are an important factor in promoting economic growth. Good information flows between states and businesses, as well as transparency, reciprocity, credibility and trust are often said to be the critical elements of effective SBRs. SBRs are political relationships and the role of leadership in establishing and sustaining such relationships is crucial. There is now a strong comparative and case-study literature on the politics of state-business relations on a global basis, but there has been little focus on this topic in the Pacific. This new background paper by Caryn Peiffer provides a good literature review of the little that is known about Pacific SBRs and it outlines some key questions for further research.
Monday 5th November, 2012
How can programs that are focused on the politics of social change navigate the narrow and tricky path between the pressure to meet existing M&E requirements, on the one hand, and the desire to build a strong evidence-base to support the assertion that 'working politically' can produce stable and positive long-term development outcomes, on the other? And what can donors and other development organisations do to support this? This, the second paper in DLP's series on 'the politics of evaluation', draws on the experience of the organisations that participated in the DLP 'Politics Matters' workshops, to offer some answers to these and other questions and to suggest some areas for further exploration.
Monday 22nd October, 2012
Debate about the relationship between 'evidence' and 'policy' in the context of the Evidence Based Policy (EBP) discourse is now widespread within both research and policy communities. But does the EBP discourse and the assumptions it makes about the policy process really help to understand why evidence is taken up, how it is used or what part it plays in the wider political processes that drive policy formation and change? This excellent new paper by Professor Andries du Toit of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) makes a significant contribution to the debate, raising some very important questions about the EBP mantra and the relations between research and policy.
Wednesday 10th October, 2012
According to an IEA estimate, China recently overtook the United States as the world's largest energy consumer. This growth in energy consumption has implications, not just domestically but internationally. But China is beginning to rethink its "growth at any cost" model and is moving towards sustainable growth and energy security. A new paper by Genia Kostka and William Hobbs, based on original DLP research, addresses how Chinese leaders at a sub-national level are 'working politically' to bridge the requirements of the national energy efficiency targets against local interests ? all in the context of increasing international scrutiny of China's consumption levels and their effect on climate change.
Friday 17th August, 2012
Few people would want to argue against the 'results' and 'value for money' agenda that now dominates the current fashions in evaluation and monitoring. But are we clear about what is meant by 'value'? Value for whom? And, value over what period? Are all 'results' amenable to standard methods of evaluation? And how does one evaluate results that are intended or expected mature gradually or occur many years in the future? This new DLP paper by Chris Roche and Linda Kelly explores these issues, looking in particular at programmes and projects that are 'thinking and working politically' and argues that it is now vital for a 'mixed methods' approach to be adopted.
Wednesday 1st August, 2012
The concept of the 'political settlement' has become a familiar one in the thinking of the international community and amongst scholars with an interest in the politics of development. But it has been used in a variety of subtly, but significantly, different ways, sometimes interchangeably with notions such as 'elite pacts' or 'peace agreements'. For some, the term encompasses only 'horizontal' agreements between key elites; for others it has been used to refer to the 'vertical' relations between states and societies. Some conceptions point to political settlements as 'one off' events; others suggest that settlements describe the on-going institutional arrangements and political processes that both reflect and shape the (changing) distribution of power in a society.
Wednesday 11th July, 2012
Are you short on time, but feeling the pressure to keep up with the latest ideas in development theory? If so, you probably won't have had a chance to read fully the three recently published and important books on the politics of development: 'Violence and Social Orders' (by D.C North, J.J. Wallis and B.R. Weingast, 2009); 'The Origins of Political Order' (by Francis Fukuyama, 2011); and, 'Why Nations Fail' (by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, 2012). DLP may be able to help! This paper provides the core summaries of their main arguments and the supporting evidence, accompanied by a brief analysis of some common themes and questions.
Monday 18th June, 2012
This excellent paper by Tom Harrison and Genia Kostka addresses this question head-on. In a fascinating comparative analysis of China and India, the paper analyses the different political strategies used sub-nationally in the two countries to formulate and implement policies that aim to ensure that emissions reductions targets are met. Given that China and India are the two developing countries with the highest level of CO2 emissions, the authors address the far from straightforward issue of how political and bureaucratic leaderships work locally in very different structural and institutional contexts, pursuing very different political strategies, to bring together competing interests and priorities to try to ensure that mitigation strategies are successful.
Tuesday 12th June, 2012
Following the Joint Statement on the political economy of Africa, agreed by five research groups including DLP, we've been keeping the discussion going through the excellent 'Different take on Africa' blog. Today Adrian Leftwich posted a piece on the blog emphasising the importance of understanding the agential factors that have held back African development: the question of leadership. Specifically, what role leadership can play at "critical junctures in reconstructing coalitions, initiating new political settlements or sustaining old ones"? And the potential for developmental leaderships - in all sectors and levels of society - to mobilise people and resources to overcome the critical collective action problems that typically plague development in Africa.
Wednesday 9th May, 2012
'Reform' coalitions have been noted by many authors in a very diverse range of literatures. But what do we know about them? And should we not understand better their role in the politics of development? What are the circumstances of their provenance, and the political conditions and characteristics of successful ones? Can it be demonstrated that such coalitions have contributed directly to growth and poverty reduction? And, if so, can or should donors work politically to facilitate, encourage and promote their emergence and functioning? In this paper Caryn Peiffer identifies some of the common features of these coalitions and suggests some of the important questions that will be explored by further DLP research.
Thursday 3rd May, 2012
The Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS), recently brought together five major research groups, including the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP), to discuss and share their findings on the politics of development with special reference to Africa. While each of the research groups approach this key developmental question from different angles, they all explore the diverse ways in which political and policy choices, elites, leaders, informal institutions, incentive structures, coalitions and democratization processes have shaped development trajectories in different contexts. Their findings overlapped on enough common ground to enable the groups to agree a Joint Statement which can now be downloaded from the DLP website.
Wednesday 25th April, 2012
As part of DLP's coalitions series, this paper revisits one of the earliest attempts to develop a theory of political coalitions, or perhaps a political theory of coalitions - William Riker's classic account of The Theory of Political Coalitions, first published in the early 1960s. While Riker's account focused essentially on legislative and electoral coalitions in stable institutional environments, many of the insights and questions in the book - such as, size, duration, stability, and coherence of goals - remain relevant for a wide range of reform and developmental coalitions in the politics of developing countries. The paper reviews Riker's theory, assesses its limitations, and suggests a series of important issues that require attention.
Wednesday 18th April, 2012
'Coalitions' are part and parcel of everyday politics, everywhere, nationally and sub-nationally and in all sectors and issue areas. They are also central to the inner politics that shape political settlements and help solve collective action problems. Yet we know very little about what makes for successful coalitions, or what the international community can do to support the emergence of developmental coalitions. The workshop brought together practitioners, researchers and theorists from developed and developing societies and this report summarises the important continuities, generalizations and messages that we identified. It is the first in a series of papers that seek to clarify this pervasive feature of the politics of development.
Thursday 8th March, 2012
Under what conditions does a reduction in practices of corruption occur? Can it be attributed to improved institutional arrangements and enforcement procedures? Does it turn as much, or more, on the role of key players and coalitions? Or is it both? And what can the international community do to support these processes? In collaboration with Transparency International (TI), DLP has commenced a program of work to try to answer these questions. This new paper by Caryn Peiffer, the first in a series of products from this joint project, explains how a long list of cases has been identified using statistical analysis of the data contained in TI's very rich data source: The Global Corruption Barometer.
Monday 27th February, 2012
Support for the emergence of democratic processes has been a cardinal aim of the international community for at least two decades. But how do the poor and marginalized perceive the politics of democratic processes, especially in new or born-again democracies? And how do they perceive the performance and behaviour of democratically elected leaderships? This study, supported by GIZ (German International Cooperation), shows that, although they welcome democracy, a sample of urban and rural poor in three Latin American countries regard democratic politics as distant from their preoccupations and are cynical about their elected leaderships. Nonetheless, their daily lives are filled with a variety of community organizations and forms of participation but which they do not conceive of as 'politics', or as being 'political'.
Thursday 16th February, 2012
The latest in the, 'Thinking and Working Politically in Development Assistance' workshop series, hosted by the Developmental Leadership Program, in partnership with The Asia Foundation, took place in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Canberra (Australia) in December 2011. The workshops, designed to create a deeper understanding of the concept of 'thinking and working politically', encouraged participants to explore how this approach can be translated into aid programming in Papua New Guinea. Like earlier activities in the series, these workshops set out to provide an overview of the latest thinking and strategies for improving aid effectiveness using a political analysis approach, with a particular focus on the importance of politics and leadership.