Tuesday 18th December 2018
As the Democratic Republic of the Congo prepares for tense presidential elections, two new papers unpack some of the drivers of the prolonged conflict and insecurity in the eastern provinces.
Thursday 26th July 2018
Claire Mcloughlin's new open-access article in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding draws on the case of higher education in Sri Lanka. It explores how unfair service provision can undermine state legitimacy in divided societies.
Thursday 31st May 2018
A new series of studies asks what factors support or hinder leadership for transformational change in Africa. They are published in collaboration with the UONGOZI Institute.
Monday 21st May 2018
In Development Policy Review, Tom Harrison and Genia Kostka draw on their DLP research project to explore 'Bureaucratic manoeuvres and the local politics of climate change mitigation in China and India'.
Wednesday 14th February 2018
DLP launched its 10-year synthesis report and findings from a collaborative research project on 'Gender and Politics in Practice' at the Australasian Aid Conference in February 2018.
New article - To Boldly Know: Knowledge, Peacekeeping and Remote Data Gathering in Conflict-Affected States
Thursday 12th October 2017
In this article in the Journal of International Peacekeeping, DLP researcher Suda Perera critically evaluates crowdsourcing's uses and abuses, and warns against an over-reliance on remotely gathered conflict data.
Thursday 5th October 2017
Join us on 5 Oct 2017 at ODI (10-11:30am) to discuss the research featured in a special issue of The Journal of International Development co-edited by Alina Rocha Menocal (DLP and ODI) and Jan Pospisil (Political Settlements Research Programme at the University of Edinburgh).
Friday 29th September 2017
A new article co-authored by DLP researcher Niheer Dasandi explores the dilemmas of providing development aid to states that violate human rights.
Wednesday 23rd August 2017
A new 'Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development' (K4D) report draws on DLP research to explore what impact higher education has had on developmental leadership and good governance.
Thursday 30th March 2017
Putting the concept of Thinking and Working Politically into practice was at the heart of a workshop on 15-16 March attended by more than 200 delegates from the field of international development. Delegates from the government, civil service and local organisations of the host country, Indonesia, were joined by academics, including DLP researchers, and staff from donor organisations and NGOs.
Monday 27th March 2017
DLP findings on the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the topics discussed with with UK diplomats and civil servants at the FCO's Africa Study Day, held at Sandhurst on 21 March. This year's Foreign and Commonwealth Office event was organised by University of Birmingham's International Development Department, home to DLP.
Tuesday 21st March 2017
Dr Duncan Green presents the ideas from his recent book, How Change Happens, in a series of appearances across Australia next month. Organised by the Research for Development Impact (RDI) Network, the events are co-presented by DLP in partnership with a range of development and research agencies.
Tuesday 14th March 2017
DLP Research Fellow Niheer Dasandi has co-authored a new article on how bureaucrats and politicians interact, and how this affects reform efforts. It appears in 'Public Administration and Development'.
Tuesday 21st February 2017
Seeing power and complex social systems clearly is the first step towards supporting positive developmental change, says Oxfam Strategic Director and DLP research partner Duncan Green. He discussed the themes of his latest book at a recent International Development Department guest seminar at the University of Birmingham.
Monday 9th January 2017
What works in achieving progressive change? How do power and systems shape change, and how can you influence them? Join Oxfam's Duncan Green on Thursday 19 January to discuss the themes of his new book 'How Change Happens'. The presentation will be followed by a drinks reception and book signing.
Friday 2nd December 2016
DLP research on how to effectively fight corruption has won funding from the British Academy's Sustainable Development Programme, part of the UK government's Global Challenges Research Fund.
Monday 31st October 2016
After many significant contributions to DLP's research, events and impact, Alina Rocha Menocal is now moving on to take up a USAID Senior Democracy Fellowship. Alina will also continue her role as a Research Fellow in ODI's Politics and Governance Programme, on a part-time basis, and we are delighted that she will retain close links with DLP as a Research Associate.
Thursday 27th October 2016
The University of Manchester's annual lecture in memory of DLP's founding Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be given this year by Nic van de Walle, Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, on Wednesday, 16 November.
Tuesday 25th October 2016
DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera has presented findings from her research into armed groups and political inclusion in the Democratic Republic of Congo to the UK Parliament's International Development Committee.
Thursday 15th September 2016
New research from DLP and the University of Glasgow explores the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development in the Philippines. See the policy brief, podcast and paper.
Thursday 7th July 2016
Political settlements in Africa, the politics of inclusion and the role of international actors were the focus of the most recent BISA Africa Working Group workshop, convened by DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera at the University of Birmingham.
Friday 24th June 2016
A new research initiative at US university The New School focuses on the social contract as a means of revitalising thinking and practice about peacebuilding. DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal has joined the team of thematic and policy specialists who form the working group supporting the project and its researchers.
Thursday 26th May 2016
Dr Heather Marquette was among the panellists on May 19 at the Challenges of Government Conference 2016, discussing whether democracy will survive the collapse of trust in government. The conference was hosted by the University of Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government. Videos are available.
Monday 9th May 2016
DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera, speaking at the University of Manchester's Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, asked why approaches to peacekeeping in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo haven't changed in more than a decade. Meanwhile, the possibility of lasting peace in the region seems more remote than ever.
Wednesday 4th May 2016
Today's report by the UK Parliament's International Development Committee on the crisis in Yemen calls for an independent investigation into suspected breaches of international humanitarian law, including by the Saudi-led coalition forces. In her evidence submission, Dr Sarah Phillips drew on research supported by DLP to highlight the risks of an international response to Yemen that focuses on counterterrorism and is dominated by Saudi Arabia.
Friday 29th April 2016
A collaborative workshop at La Trobe University, Melbourne, at which DLP Senior Partner Chris Roche and Dr Sarah Phillips were panellists, considered whether democracy is an appropriate framework for efforts to make sense of the struggles of fragile states.
Monday 25th April 2016
DLP Research Fellow Dr Caryn Peiffer is co-author with Prof Richard Rose of a new open access article on bribery. It shows that integrating measures of political institutions and individual characteristics can provide a policy relevant understanding of who does and does not pay bribes for public services.
Friday 15th April 2016
A conference hosted by the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence, in partnership with DLP and the Centre for Public Impact, focused on the impact political settlements have on the efficiency of public services. Many of the presentations are now available online.
Friday 8th April 2016
Paper proposals are invited for a panel on political settlements and pathways out of fragility at this year's Development Studies Association conference. The panel convenors are Alina Rocha Menocal and Jan Pospisil. The conference will be held on 12-14 September in Oxford, UK.
Monday 4th April 2016
DLP Director Heather Marquette is convening a panel on 'Thinking and working politically about corruption and anti-corruption' at this year's Development Studies Association conference in September. The call for papers is open until 25 April.
Monday 4th April 2016
DLP researcher Tait Brimacombe and researchers from the University of the South Pacific are exploring how feminists and women's rights activists in Fiji are using digital technologies.
Friday 11th March 2016
Attempts by the UN to broker agreement on a Libyan government of national unity are discussed in a new RFI podcast featuring Alina Rocha Menocal.
Friday 12th February 2016
Debate over women's clothing and how issues of gender equality are reflected in such discussions is the subject of an article by Tait Brimacombe, published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology.
Tuesday 9th February 2016
Alina Rocha Menocal discussed the relationship between democracy and development at The Australian National University on 9 February 2016. 'Emerging Democracies: Rising to the Challenge' was a Centre for Democratic Institutions seminar that considered how best to help promote development in countries which, formally at least, are democracies but seem to be 'stuck' in transition.
Tuesday 26th January 2016
A new article by Alina Rocha Menocal discusses how the combination of an internationally-backed initiative against organised crime and a mass protest movement has played a crucial role in sowing the seeds for 'transformation against the odds' in Guatemala.
Monday 18th January 2016
Niheer Dasandi was among the speakers at a Global Governance Institute event, Power, Development and Messy Politics: Dilemmas of International Aid, on 18 January. He shared findings on how donors could think politically about difficult choices.
Thursday 7th January 2016
A new article by Dr Jonathan Fisher and DLP Director Dr Heather Marquette discusses the tensions between development agencies' focus on donor-centric political economy analysis and their interest in fostering partner countries' ownership of development agendas and programmes.
Tuesday 24th November 2015
The Australian launch of this book, co-edited by DLP's Senior Research Partner Chris Roche, will be held at La Trobe University, Melbourne on 24 November, 5pm-6.30pm. Speakers: Dennis Altman, Duncan Green, Irene Gujit, Chris Roche.
Tuesday 3rd November 2015
What questions need to be considered when assessing gender-related impact? What methods and tools can help assess gender in impact evaluation of interventions? These are some of the issues addressed by DLP Research Fellow Gillian Fletcher in a new ODI paper.
Monday 26th October 2015
A new research project in collaboration with the Uongozi Institute for Leadership for Sustainable Development is exploring developmental leadership in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa.
Tuesday 20th October 2015
Join us at La Trobe University, Melbourne on 8 February 2016 to discuss 'Power, Politics and Positive Deviance'.
Thursday 8th October 2015
This new resource from the OECD-DAC Network on Governance, launched today, provides a collection of briefings for governance practitioners in development agencies. DLP's directors, Heather Marquette and David Hudson, are among the contributors.
Tuesday 6th October 2015
A new article in the journal Governance explores citizens' perceptions of corruption and their willingness to engage in anticorruption activism. It is co-authored by DLP Research Fellow Caryn Peiffer.
Monday 28th September 2015
Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal presented a DLP paper in progress at the 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, organised by the European International Studies Association (EISA). Alina's State of the Art (SOTA) paper on political settlements will be published this autumn.
Monday 21st September 2015
DLP Director Heather Marquette and Research Fellow Caryn Peiffer have contributed a chapter to 'Ethics in Public Policy and Management'. They discuss 'Applying Principal-Agent and Collective Action Theories to the Problem of Corruption in Systemically Corrupt Countries'.
Thursday 27th August 2015
DLP Director Heather Marquette and Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal joined a DFID panel discussion today. This asked: 'How can we Analyse Political Settlements, Institutions & Citizens and get a Better Line of Sight to our Country and Sector Programming?'
Thursday 30th July 2015
Can municipal service delivery improve municipal and state legitimacy and foster social cohesion, especially among communities hosting large refugee populations? A new DLP research project working with DFID-assisted programmes in Lebanon and Jordan will explore this question.
Tuesday 28th July 2015
Suda Perera's new book chapter explains how chaos theory can help us understand identity-formation in protracted refugee situations.
Tuesday 21st July 2015
DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal has co-authored a new Development Progress case study from ODI.
Monday 13th July 2015
Suda Perera's ECAS conference paper, 'Within and without the state', shared findings on relations between the state and armed groups in the DRC's Kivu regions.
‘If the herd of cows splits up, the tiger can eat them’: civil society and social justice in Myanmar
Friday 10th July 2015
On 10 July DLP Research Fellow Gillian Fletcher brought together a panel of civil society actors from across Myanmar for the Australian Myanmar Institute conference. They discussed how to use a diversity and values framework to promote equality and social justice.
Tuesday 7th July 2015
DLP team members David Hudson and Alina Rocha Menocal joined a wide range of speakers at this event in London on 29 June.
Thursday 2nd July 2015
Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal was among the expert panellists for a Guardian Development Professionals Network Q&A on 2 July.
Monday 29th June 2015
DLP's Senior Research Partner Chris Roche and Research Fellow Gillian Fletcher, with their La Trobe colleague Professor Dennis Altman, ran an interactive workshop with more than 275 new and departing Colombo Plan and Australia Awards scholars in Melbourne on 29 June 2015.
Thursday 4th June 2015
DLP director Dr Heather Marquette was among the speakers this week at European Development Days 2015. She shared findings at a panel discussing how development cooperation can effectively fight corruption and promote good governance.
Monday 18th May 2015
Dr Heather Marquette leads a team of DLP researchers who will present their work at the OECD this week. They will share findings with two INCAF Task Teams at discussions of the Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals on legitimate politics and on revenues and services.
Friday 15th May 2015
DLP research fellow Dr Niheer Dasandi was among the speakers at the New Directions in International Political Economy conference in Warwick this week. He and DLP's Dr David Hudson will be editing Edward Elgar's forthcoming 'Handbook of the International Political Economy of Development'.
Wednesday 13th May 2015
Dr David Hudson spoke at an OECD DAC GovNet meeting on 13 May, on how the 'doing governance differently' agenda can be translated into practice.
Thursday 12th March 2015
We are delighted to welcome Tait Brimacombe and Gillian Fletcher to the DLP team at La Trobe University in Melbourne. Their research will explore issues including women's involvement in political processes, and strengthening capacity for development through communication.
Tuesday 10th March 2015
This public event in London on April 2 will explore how to support 'Doing development differently'. It is being organised by the University of Birmingham, ODI and RTI International. Prof Richard Batley (UoB), Dr David Booth (ODI) and DLP's Dr David Hudson will chair the workshop.
Thursday 5th March 2015
What conditions make corruption possible? What are the real costs of corruption and how can it be fought effectively? A new evidence paper that addresses these questions has been written for DFID by a research team led by DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal and Nils Taxell of the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre.
Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Senior DLP Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal leads a day of training in Basel this week as part of swisspeace's Certificate of Advanced Studies in Fragility, Conflict and Statebuilding.
Friday 27th February 2015
This book, co-authored by DLP research fellow Caryn Peiffer, identifies significant differences in the payment of bribes between countries on every continent, and between services and between individuals within each country. It offers six principles to reduce the scale of bribery in public services.
Monday 26th January 2015
A new DLP research paper asks what makes the middle classes oppose or support initiatives intended to lift people out of poverty, and how the development community can secure their approval of such policies.
Tuesday 13th January 2015
The newly-published 'Routledge Handbook of Political Corruption' includes a contribution from DLP Director Heather Marquette in its section on new directions emerging in corruption research.
Monday 12th January 2015
Senior researcher Claire Mcloughlin is one of the contributors to 'The Politics of Inclusive Development', published this month by OUP. The book is dedicated to the memory of the late Adrian Leftwich, DLP's founding Director of Research.
Wednesday 3rd December 2014
The origins and durability of a state's legitimacy affect the feasibility of development processes and the effectiveness of external aid interventions. In this three-page Brief, senior researcher Claire Mcloughlin unpacks a slippery, yet important, concept.
Monday 1st December 2014
On 4 December, Research Fellow Suda Perera will present DLP findings at an expert meeting to help inform Dutch development policy on security and justice.
Monday 24th November 2014
In a guest post today for the blog From Poverty to Power, Alina Rocha Menocal takes stock of the evidence on parliamentary strengthening.
Wednesday 12th November 2014
DLP's Deputy Director David Hudson will speak next week at the International Parliamentary Conference on Growth for Development in London.
Monday 10th November 2014
DLP's Director Heather Marquette has commented in 'The Guardian' on the UK aid watchdog's criticism of DFID's impact in tackling petty corruption. She calls the ICAI report 'a wasted opportunity to rethink how we deliver aid with integrity'. Today in 'The Conversation' she suggests ways forward.
Thursday 6th November 2014
Research Fellow Suda Perera was among the expert panellists for a Guardian Development Professionals Network Q&A on 6 November. She drew on her recent research in the DRC to discuss the issue, 'After aid, how can development work in unstable states?'
Monday 3rd November 2014
DLP's Directors, Heather Marquette and David Hudson, will present findings today on 'Communication in Anti-Corruption Work' at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Thursday 30th October 2014
Senior researcher Claire Mcloughlin has been sharing findings on the politics of service delivery this week with members of the Danish government's development cooperation staff. She spoke at a Danida seminar, which took place on 28-30 October.
Friday 24th October 2014
Heather Marquette and Caryn Peiffer are in Berlin this week to give a presentation at the second ANTICORRP Consortium meeting. They are presenting on research on integrity management in Bolivia and Rwanda.
Thursday 16th October 2014
How does politics foster or reduce inequalities? We welcome proposals for papers for the 2015 DLP conference.
Monday 6th October 2014
What exactly are 'political settlements'? This Concept Brief, the first of a new series, sets out key elements of this increasingly prominent idea. It suggests why it is important, and what policy implications follow from it.
Wednesday 24th September 2014
A new DLP Research Paper presents findings from Malawi on elites' attitudes to poverty and their opinions on how to reduce it. The findings question the sustainability of cash transfer programmes beyond donor funding.
Thursday 11th September 2014
DLP-commissioned research is being fed into the continuing debate on the post-2015 agenda to establish development priorities beyond the Millennium Development Goals.
Thursday 28th August 2014
Two exciting opportunities have arisen for an accomplished research fellow and senior research fellow to work with DLP at La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change. VACANCIES NOW CLOSED.
Monday 21st July 2014
The first of the Developmental Leadership Program's 'State of the Art' papers is now available. Our SOTA series aims to lay the groundwork for future DLP research by setting out what existing research evidence and development practice tell us about the politics of development in key areas.
Saturday 28th June 2014
On 28 June DLP Deputy Director David Hudson ran 100km along the Grand Union Canal, raising over £1000 for Cancer Research UK.
Tuesday 10th June 2014
DLP consolidates its partnership with La Trobe University, Australia, this week. On 13 June, DLP's directors, Dr Heather Marquette and Dr David Hudson, will meet with members of La Trobe's Institute for Human Security and Social Change to share research findings and plan future collaboration.
Friday 30th May 2014
Five core themes run through the heart of this new-look Developmental Leadership Program website. They are signposts to help visitors explore our research, and they are the building blocks of the new strategy that will guide our work over the next three years.
Wednesday 30th April 2014
DLP was delighted to participate in this conference on 'Leadership and the Challenge of Change', which was organised by KPMG and the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence.
Public talk by DLP's Niheer Dasandi at UNDP, Singapore on successful policy reform and political-bureaucratic interaction
Monday 28th April 2014
On 28 April, DLP Research Fellow Dr Niheer Dasandi gave a talk at UNDP's Global Centre for Public Service Excellence in Singapore. He addressed the question: how can the interaction between politicians and bureaucrats help to foster successful policy reform?
Thursday 17th April 2014
Has political economy analysis lost its way? Donors Doing Political Economy Analysis: From Process to Product (and Back Again?) is a new DLP research paper by Dr Jonathan Fisher and Dr Heather Marquette.
Tuesday 15th April 2014
On 15 April 2014, DLP will host a panel on 'The Primacy of Politics in Development' at the Political Studies Association conference in Manchester, UK.
Tuesday 8th April 2014
DLP has begun a new phase of work led by the University of Birmingham, with funding in place until 2017. The new research grant marks a first step towards the consolidation of DLP as a global partnership.
Friday 28th March 2014
This open access article in the journal Governance, by DLP senior researcher Claire Mcloughlin, unpacks the theory and evidence on the relationship between service delivery and state legitimacy in fragile and conflict-affected states.
Thursday 27th March 2014
What role does the international system play in producing poverty around the world? In an article in 'New Political Economy', DLP research fellow Niheer Dasandi draws on network analysis to examine this surprisingly neglected question.
Tuesday 25th March 2014
A new DLP Research Paper highlights the important role of quality secondary and higher education in forming developmental leadership in Ghana.
Tuesday 4th March 2014
'Room For Maneuver' explores the politics of social sector policy reform in the Philippines. The book, co-edited by the late Adrian Leftwich, highlights lessons for reform advocates.
Wednesday 12th February 2014
What motivates public servants to work well? The UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE) and the GSDRC are hosting the first of a series of online discussions on reinvigorating the public service.
Friday 24th January 2014
We were delighted that over 100 scholars and development practitioners joined us for the Adrian Leftwich Memorial Conference on 24 January. We commemorated DLP's founding Director of Research with a fascinating day of reflection and discussion.
Wednesday 1st January 2014
Why did the civil wars in Somaliland end while Somalia's continued? This new DLP Research Paper asks why large-scale violence was resolved in the internationally unrecognised 'Republic of Somaliland' but not in the rest of Somalia.
Friday 15th November 2013
The PSA Development Politics Group and the University of Birmingham's International Development Department jointly hosted a workshop on the 15th November 2013. This explored the '(re)politicisation' of development studies and the need to move beyond criticism to constructive engagement with policy makers.
Friday 5th July 2013
Adrian directed his immense intellect, passion, and integrity towards better understanding the politics and leadership of development. The messages of loss, tribute and remembrance that we have received are shared here.
Friday 5th July 2013
It is our great pleasure to announce that the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) has appointed Dr. Heather Marquette, of the University of Birmingham, as its new Director of Research. Finding a successor for our late Director of Research, Dr. Adrian Leftwich, was never going to be an easy task. We're confident, however, that in Heather we have found someone with the passion, energy, drive and above all intellectual integrity to take forward the DLP research team's already significant work and to build on Adrian's legacy. Over the coming months we will develop a strategic agenda for the next phase of our research.
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. Mich?le Knodt, Dr. Ulrich M?ller, and Lena L?zaro R?ther. 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.
Review: "Transformative Political Leadership: Making a difference in the developing world" by Robert Rotberg
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.
Review: "Against the Odds: Politicians, institutions and the struggle against poverty" by Melo, Ng'ethe & Manor
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.
Wednesday 15th February 2012
Despite a potentially huge range of empirical evidence and examples, our understanding of how coalitions are formed, managed and funded, and what makes for successful coalitions remains remarkably limited. The purpose of the workshop is therefore to deepen our understanding of these crucial developmental political processes, to help classify different forms of coalitions, to derive significant policy and programmatic messages, and to formulate guidelines for the international community about how to broker, facilitate and support progressive developmental coalitions across sectors and issue areas. The workshop will draw on the rich experience and thinking of its participants - a mix of distinguished researchers and practitioners from a variety of contexts.
Thursday 9th February 2012
In his well-received book 'Emerging Africa: How 17 Countries Are Leading the Way', Steve Radelet distinguished between 'Emerging', 'Threshold' and 'Non-Emerging' countries in sub-Saharan Africa. He pointed out that the 'Emerging' countries had performed particularly well in terms of growth and democratization. This new paper, drawing on the DLP African Heads of State database, explores the potential contribution that leadership may have made to these stories. The analysis indicates that the Heads of State in 'Emerging' countries have in general had higher levels of education, are more mature, have a different and more diverse career history and less military experience than both their counterparts in their own countries before the mid-1990s and the leaders of 'Non-emerging' countries.
Tuesday 31st January 2012
The DLP has completed the first phase of its research program and we are now commencing a second wave of research. New research projects include: continuing research on Higher Education and Development; African Leadership and the 'emerging' African 'success' stories; the politics of social sector reform in the Philippines; an exploration of anti-corruption successes; political analysis for development practitioners; disability coalitions; leaders, coalitions and reform in violence affected communities: local reform coalitions in Medell?n, Columbia; action research exploring AusAID's Coalitions for Change (CfC) programme in the Philippines; Political settlements in Somaliland; leadership and development in very small states; and 'Thinking politically, working politically, what does it mean?'
Monday 30th January 2012
An important new research centre, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, has recently completed its inception year and is about to commence its substantive research program. The Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre (ESID) is based at the University of Manchester in the UK, with research partners in Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Malawi, Uganda and the US. ESID shares with DLP a commitment to understand better the politics of development. DLP welcomes the formation of ESID and we look forward to close cooperation in sharing ideas, findings and policy messages over the coming years.
Tuesday 29th November 2011
Has the international community devoted too little attention to the role of higher education in promoting developmental outcomes? Can higher education make a significant contribution to the emergence of developmental leadership in all sectors of society, both public and private? If so, how? And what is the evidence for this? An earlier DLP paper showed that despite evidence for a clear and positive correlation between higher education and good governance, this is an area that has been largely neglected by the international community in favour of an emphasis on basic or primary education. This new paper by Laura Brannelly, Laura Lewis and Susy Ndaruhutse surveys evidence from a wide literature regarding which aspects of higher education can promote the emergence of developmental leadership.
Monday 21st November 2011
The Asia Foundation, supported by USAID and AusAID, today launches an important new book, documenting the politics of some significant economic reforms in the Philippines. Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines is a collection of analytical essays by leading development analysts and some of the participants in each of the reform processes. The book has a foreword by Adrian Leftwich, the Director of Research for the DLP. The theme of the book is the role played by 'developmental entrepreneurs' in the politics of reform and it illustrates through a number of cases how and why difficult battles were fought and, in some cases won, in pursuit of reform.
Tuesday 15th November 2011
DLP's Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be speaking at the Commonwealth Secretariat's Senior Leaders Forum on the 15th November. The event brings together public servants from around the Commonwealth to strengthen their roles in implementing policies and strategies for development in their country. The event also sees the launch of the "Commonwealth Governance Yearbook 2011/12", which is a collection of writings from public service practitioners and experts in public administration and management.
Monday 7th November 2011
In a recent speech, the former Prime Minister of the UK, Mr Tony Blair, has suggested that improvement in rates of economic growth and the stabilization of a variety of political orders in parts of Africa can in part be attributed to the role of leadership. New research about African political leadership since 1960, commissioned by DLP, provides some interesting evidence in support of Mr Blair's claim. In this thought-provoking paper, Monique Theron provides statistical trends and patterns over the last 50 years with respect to the profiles of different types of ruler, their educational qualifications, their field of tertiary study, their career histories before becoming Heads of State, their political backgrounds, their length of incumbency and how they gained and lost power.
Thursday 6th October 2011
Policy-makers, researchers and practitioners can learn a great deal about the complexity of the politics of reform from the direct experiences of reform leaderships in developing countries. The Innovations for Successful Societies at Princeton University is building a series of case studies and recordings of interviews with developmental leaders from around the world. This rich source of information will be of great value to those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the role which developmental leaderships and coalitions can play in promoting locally appropriate institutional and policy innovation and reform in the diverse contexts of their own countries.
Tuesday 13th September 2011
DLP Researcher Laura Brannelly (CfBT) will be presenting the findings of the first phase of DLP's research on Higher Education and Development at the 11th UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development in Oxford between the 13th-15th September. The theme for the conference is "Global Challenges for Education: Economics, Environment & Emergency". The main aim of the conference is to move education to the centre of the debate on global challenges in the 21st Century.
Monday 22nd August 2011
DLP Researcher Susy Ndaruhutse (CfBT) was a plenary speaker at this year's "USAID Global Workshop on Education and Development: From Evidence to Action" between the 22nd-25th August in Virginia, USA. The main purpose of the workshop was to demonstrate the strategic importance of education in achieving US government development goals, and to provide critical and cutting edge training and orientation to USAID education and capacity development sector staff and their present and potential partners. Susy Ndaruhutse's session was entitled 'Mobilizing Higher Education for Developmental Leadership'.
Friday 5th August 2011
This excellent paper by the Asia Foundation explores the politics of local coalitions working to expand coverage of health services for the poor in two municipalities in Central Java, Indonesia - Semarang and Pekalongan. The research, by Laurel MacLaren, Alam Surya Putra and Erman Rahman, shows that facilitating and supporting the emergence and activities of coalitions of leaders and CSOs (Civil Society Organizations) can be a highly effective means of achieving pro-poor policy outcomes in some institutional contexts.
Friday 29th July 2011
DLP's Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, presented at one of the panels at the Triennial World Congress of the Society for International Development (SID), in Washington DC between the 29th-31st July 2011. The panel was entitled "Looking Forward: Pathways toward Inclusion through Political Change" and his presentation was on 'Beyond and below Institutions: organizations, politics and leadership'. The theme of this year's congress was "Our Common Challenge: A World Moving toward a Sustainable Future" and the event brought together professionals from diverse sectors and constituencies to debate critical ideas, policies and practices and to shape future development thinking and policy.
Monday 18th July 2011
DLP Researcher, Dr Sarah Phillips from the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, gave a thought-provoking and timely presentation on the 8 June 2011 in AusAID in Canberra, entitled "Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen: Informal Institutions and Agency". Speaking to an audience of AusAID staff and representatives from various government departments including the Departments of Defence and Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other guests, Dr Phillips provided a unique insight into the Yemeni regime's opaque internal politics, and the nature of the patronage system entrenched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past 32 years.
Monday 4th July 2011
DLP Researcher and lecturer at the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney, Dr Sarah Phillips has written an Adelphi book on her research in Yemen. Drawing on research carried out on the ground in Yemen, this Adelphi examines the shadowy structures that govern political life and sustain a network of social elites predisposed against any far-reaching systemic reform. It looks behind the scenes at the regime's opaque internal politics, at its entrenched patronage system and at the 'rules of the game' that will shape the behaviour of the post-Saleh rulers, to offer insights for how the West may better engage within that game.
Monday 27th June 2011
The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP), in collaboration with our partner, Oxfam Australia, recently held the first of three workshops exploring how we can incorporate an understanding of leadership and coalitions (agency) into effective monitoring and evaluation practices for development programs. The workshop brought together representatives from AusAID, The Asia Foundation, Leadership PNG, the Pacific Leadership Program and the Oxfam International Youth Partnerships program. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Linda Kelly, a development consultant and Chris Roche, Director of Development Effectiveness at Oxfam Australia.
Monday 20th June 2011
There is now wide recognition that political processes - and especially the role of leaderships and coalitions - are fundamental in shaping and sustaining the institutional and policy environment that promotes or frustrates sustainable economic growth and inclusive social development. That being so, what is to be done? What does it mean for development policy and practice? In seeking to address some of these issues, the DLP held its first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt in March, 2011. This paper provides a summary of the key findings, insights and initial guidance arising from the workshop and from recent phases of DLP research.
Wednesday 8th June 2011
Dr Sarah Phillips, from the Centre for International Security Studies, Sydney University, presented her work on the crisis in Yemen to an audience of Australian officials from across government, and other interested parties, in AusAID on Wednesday, 8th June. Dr Phillips' presentation looked behind the scenes at the Yemeni regime's opaque internal politics and at the nature of the system entrenched by President Ali Abdullah Saleh over the past 32 years. It also discussed the implications of this for Western counter-terrorism policies in Yemen.
Thursday 2nd June 2011
Dr. Mariz Tadros presented the findings from her recent DLP research paper, "Working Politically Behind Red Lines: Structure and agency in a comparative study of women's coalitions in Egypt and Jordan", at the International Roundtable: "Pathways for Women in Democratic Transitions - International Experiences and Lessons Learned", on June 2nd 2011in Cairo. The objective of this Roundtable was to explore paths towards democratic transitions that ensure good governance, gender equality and social justice.
Wednesday 11th May 2011
What explains the differences in quality and kind of service delivery in sub-national districts which are otherwise very similar? Exploring this question in the context of Indonesian decentralization, this paper found that the nature of district leadership was critical. Where district heads pursued strategies of 'political entrepreneurship', becoming dependent upon their electoral support to remain in power, district governments were more likely to promote free public services than where political leaders focused on consolidating patronage networks. These strategies in turn appear related to the political effects of the personal networks, alliances, informal coalitions and constituencies of local leaders.
Monday 4th April 2011
The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) held its first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt on 10th and 11th March, 2011, facilitated by the GIZ. The focus of the DLP is on the role of developmental leaderships and coalitions in the politics of sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development. The purpose of the workshop was to explore and elaborate the policy, programme and operational implications of the recently completed phase of DLP research and to map the way forward for future research, policy and communications activities.
Friday 18th March 2011
Donors increasingly recognise the political dimension of development cooperation and that they themselves are political actors. But how can this 'political' role be aligned with the interests and ideas of partner countries, and with the principle of ownership? How are partnerships and mutual trust created and maintained through the ups and downs of daily cooperation? How does policy making take place in partner countries, and how can donor and supply driven cooperation be avoided? This collection of essays, published by GIZ, offers important practical insights for policy-makers and practitioners alike.
Wednesday 9th March 2011
It is often argued (by the World Bank and other development organizations) that integrity and ethical leadership are critical components of good governance. But what is 'ethical leadership'? What is 'developmental integrity'? How is it achieved? And what are the conditions for sustaining it? This new study by Eduard Grebe and Minka Woermann - intended to help policy-makers think clearly about ethics and integrity in relation to developmental issues - develops a conceptual framework for thinking about integrity and leadership in developmental contexts, not only in terms of individual behaviour, but also in terms of institutions.
Monday 28th February 2011
Yemen is one of the countries in the Middle East currently experiencing profound turbulence. But what opaque internal politics has kept the regime entrenched for the last three decades? Why have its leaders and elites - like those of many other countries - been so ineffective in addressing serious threats to the viability of the state and to the wellbeing of its citizens? This original and path-breaking research paper by Sarah Phillips offers a detailed political analysis of the inner workings of the Yemen state.
Wednesday 23rd February 2011
"Engaging politically behind red lines" examines six cases of collective initiatives to advance women's rights in Egypt and Jordan between 2000 and 2010. The study explores what accounts for the emergence, success and failure of women's coalitions in these two countries. Using a case study approach, the study examines the interface between collective agency and structure in two national contexts characterized by authoritarian rule and powerful Islamist movements strongly opposed to any structural transformation of gender hierarchies.
Wednesday 23rd February 2011
How do women's rights groups campaign for vital institutional reform of archaic laws on sexual violence in new democracies? How can they best 'work politically' to achieve positive outcomes? What lessons are there for donors and supporters? This research paper uses findings from a study of the National Working Group on Sexual Offences to demonstrate how civil society coalitions may draw on and expand their elite networks and exploit political and institutional arrangements to build developmental partnerships.
Monday 21st February 2011
Does higher education have a role in promoting the emergence of developmental leaders and elites? Could higher education play a vital role in producing a pool of people with the capacity and vision to constitute progressive development leadership across sectors? And does higher education contribute to the formation of networks that facilitate the emergence of developmental coalitions? As the first step in a longer program of work to collect the evidence, this research paper surveys the literature on this question and offers a preliminary data analysis.
Monday 21st February 2011
Do 'leadership development programmes' contribute to positive development outcomes or do they only enhance the careers of their participants? Could they do both and, if so, how? What criteria can donors use in deciding whether and how to support, fund, influence or design such programmes? This paper reviews the evidence about leadership development programmes as a tool for development policy. It argues that donor and recipient organisations need to be much more discriminating when choosing to support or design a programme, and that understanding the 'political' nature of leadership is the key to choosing or designing a good programme.
Tuesday 15th February 2011
The Developmental Leadership Program, in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF), ran the second in a series of workshops entitled 'Political Dimensions of Development Programming' in Manila, Philippines from 15-16 February 2011. The workshop brought together TAF Representatives working in the Philippines and the region, AusAID staff based in the Philippines, and selected non-government partners.
Tuesday 8th February 2011
Using an approach that explores the relations between structure and agency, new research by Genia Kostka and William Hobbs, commissioned by DLP, analyses how local leaders in sub-national governments in China 'work politically' to achieve nationally determined energy efficiency targets in that complex institutional and political environment. This is the first of two papers for the DLP on the politics of sub-national energy efficiency in China and India.
Wednesday 2nd February 2011
Chris Wheeler, who has a long experience in development and aid policy, has been appointed as the new Director for the Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) to replace Steve Hogg who is on sabbatical.
Tuesday 1st February 2011
Why, after liberation in 1980, did the ruling political elite in Zimbabwe resort more to predation than development and bring about the terrible economic and political decline in that country? And why, even in the face of the current political and economic crises, have rival elites failed to forge a common developmental coalition? In this research paper, commissioned for the DLP, Michael Bratton and Eldred Masunungure offer a fine-grained political analysis of this story.
Wednesday 5th January 2011
A recent paper in Business and Politics explores the emergence, evolution and forms of 'growth alliances' in Egypt. Professors Abla Abdel-Latif, of the American University in Cairo, and Hubert Schmitz, of the Institute of Development Studies, show how largely informal and politically-negotiated relations helped to shape alliances between some business sectors and key policy-makers without apparently becoming abused for private gain.
Monday 13th December 2010
The Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University hosted a workshop on 13-14 December 2010 entitled "The Elephant in the Room: Politics and the Development Problem".
Tuesday 7th December 2010
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) hosted a round table on 7-8 December 2010 entitled "Policy into Practice: A dialogue on governance strategies and action in international development".
Wednesday 6th October 2010
Professor Genia Kostka gave a brown bag session on her DLP research to the Asia Pacific Foundation. Entitled "China: Bridging the Gap between National Priorities and Local Interests", the research analyzes how leaders in sub-national governments 'work politically' to meet national energy targets at local levels.
Wednesday 19th May 2010
Eduard Grebe and Minka Woermann will be presented a paper entitled "Institutions of integrity and integrity of institutions: integrity and ethics in the politics of developmental leadership" at the First International Conference in Responsible Leadership.
Monday 12th April 2010
In April 2010, Mr Alan Morris (Chair of the Steering Committee, DLP), Steve Hogg (Program Director), and Adrian Leftwich (Research Director) visited and gave presentations on the work of the DLP to the DAC (OECD), GTZ (Germany), ADF (France), Transparency International (Berlin), and GAVI (Geneva), and they discussed ways of cooperation and partnership.