DLP's core research themes

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.

Politically informed programming is how we describe the process by which policymakers and practitioners come to understand and support the political dimensions of developmental change, beyond the technical issues involved. Our researchers examine the political processes behind developmental change, and aim to clarify the roles of power, agency, leadership and conflict. This research stream includes ground-breaking approaches to these issues: for instance, using the Delphi method to analyse competing interests; and using action research to help practitioners build their skills in politically smart programming.

Elites and political settlements is a theme that has underpinned our work since DLP's very first research paper, on South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy. Understanding elites – at all levels and in all sectors – and the formal and informal agreements, or 'settlements', between contending groups about how to organise power helps us to understand how developmental change happens. It helps us see where and how legitimate rules and norms that promote development are forged – for example, how Somaliland escaped the civil wars that have crippled Somalia.

Reform coalitions are often important in achieving developmental change. DLP-commissioned research in the Philippines, for example, found that even with strong presidential support for reform, coalitions involving elements of government, the legislature, and civil society played a crucial role in its success. Our research examines how coalitions are built, and how they work to achieve reform in different contexts.

Leaderships is the category that demonstrates how the 'leadership' of our title has little to do with the 'Great Men' that populate history text books. We want to understand the many different forms of leadership, and where they come from. We want to know whether developmental leadership at any level of society, and among any group (such as women) is a happy accident, or a phenomenon that can be deliberately nurtured. A major stream of case study-based research is examining the role that secondary and higher education can play in fostering leadership qualities and creating networks of like-minded leaders.

Attitudes, values and ideas, finally, is a category that looks beyond financial incentives to examine what else motivates and influences different groups of actors, whether politicians, elites and recipient governments, or disenfranchised groups, civil society and donors. New research projects in this category include studies of elites' attitudes to poverty, and of citizens' willingness to get involved in anti-corruption activism.

These categories inevitably overlap. So for those visitors who want to drill deeper into the cross-cutting aspects of our research, the option to filter content by more detailed thematic tags appears on every page.

We hope you find the site easy and pleasant to navigate. Please feel free to send us your feedback at info@dlprog.org – there is always room for improvement and all comments and suggestions will be gratefully received. Over the coming months you will find a wide range of publications, opinions, news and features on the site. We hope to see you here again soon!

Related items

Political settlements in Africa

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.

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Social contracts for peace: new research initiative

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.

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Yemen - looking beyond counterterrorism

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.

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State fragility and formation: democracy in retreat workshop

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.

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Political settlements and public service performance

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.

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Call for papers for DSA conference panel on political settlements

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.

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Collaborative research on digital feminism in Fiji

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.

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Discussion on Libya with Radio France International

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.

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Masculinities and femininities in South East Asia

Friday 11th March 2016

Findings from a case study of gender and sexuality confusions and contradictions were presented by DLP research fellow Gillian Fletcher as part of a seminar series at Monash Asia Institute, Melbourne.

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Trending Trousers: Debating 'Kastom', Clothing and Gender in the Vanuatu Mediascape

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.

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Analysis tool for HIV programming

Tuesday 1st December 2015

DLP Research Fellow Gillian Fletcher has written an analysis tool for organisations designing and delivering HIV programming for MSM and transgender people.

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Australian launch of 'The Politics of Results and Evidence in International Development'

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.

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Leadership for Transformational Change in Africa: new research project

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.

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Registration open for 'Power, Politics and Positive Deviance': DLP's Annual Conference 2016

Tuesday 20th October 2015

Join us at La Trobe University, Melbourne on 8 February 2016 to discuss 'Power, Politics and Positive Deviance'.

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The Governance Practitioner's Notebook: new OECD resource

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.

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New article on willingness to engage in anticorruption activism

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.

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Political settlements at the EISA conference

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.

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DFID learning event on analysing political settlements

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?'

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Launch of service delivery and legitimacy research project: Lebanon and Jordan

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.

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Women's empowerment and conflict in Colombia: new case study

Tuesday 21st July 2015

DLP Senior Research Fellow Alina Rocha Menocal has co-authored a new Development Progress case study from ODI.

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New book on the politics of evidence and results

Thursday 16th July 2015

DLP's Senior Research Partner Chris Roche is one of the co-editors of The Politics of Evidence and Results in International Development, published this month.

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Collaborative event discussing 'Corruption and development'

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.

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Sharing findings at INCAF discussions on peacebuilding and statebuilding

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.

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New DLP research fellows

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.

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Workshop on 'Doing development differently: can it be managed?'

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.

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Training on fragility, statebuilding and peacebuilding

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.

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Middle class attitudes and the politics of poverty reduction in India

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.

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Active citizenship and how change happens

Monday 19th January 2015

Ten Active Citizenship Case Studies and a lessons paper by Duncan Green have just been published by Oxfam. These are part of a research project on 'How change happens', which DLP is supporting.

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New book chapter: contribution to the 'Routledge Handbook of Political Corruption'

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.

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New book chapter: contribution to 'The Politics of Inclusive Development'

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.

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New concept brief: state legitimacy

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.

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Elites in fragile states: from predation to protection

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.

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DLP partner launches new online portal

Friday 21st November 2014

La Trobe University's Institute for Human Security and Social Change has launched a new website, practiceforchange.org.

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Contributions to debate on aid and anti-corruption work

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.

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Findings on the politics of service delivery presented at Danida seminar

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.

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Alina Rocha Menocal joins DLP research team

Thursday 23rd October 2014

We are delighted to welcome Alina Rocha Menocal to DLP to lead our research on elites and political settlements.

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Call for papers: DLP conference on the politics of inequality

Thursday 16th October 2014

How does politics foster or reduce inequalities? We welcome proposals for papers for the 2015 DLP conference.

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Political Settlements: the first of DLP's concept briefs

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.

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Introducing DLP's new Concept Briefs

Friday 3rd October 2014

Our new series of Concept Briefs will provide concise introductions to some of the key concepts used in analysing the politics of governance in developing countries.

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Cash transfers: why elites' attitudes matter

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.

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David Hudson 100K run in memory of DLP founder Adrian Leftwich

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.

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Welcome to DLP's new website

Tuesday 3rd June 2014

DLP's Director, Dr Heather Marquette, introduces the new dlprog.org - gateway to the findings of more than five years of research on leadership and the politics of development.

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DLP's core research themes

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.

Read more

Presentations at UNDP/KPMG conference 'Leadership and the Challenge of Change'

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.

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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?

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Panel on primacy of politics in development at PSA 2014

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.

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New DLP research on the Medellin Miracle

Tuesday 4th March 2014

From the most murderous city on earth to 'a new global standard for urban policy': Kate Maclean's DLP Research Paper unpacks the politics of change in the wake of crisis.

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New book on social sector policy reform in the Philippines

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.

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Adrian Leftwich Memorial Conference

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.

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Political Settlements and State Formation - the case of Somaliland

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.

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Making Politics Practical II: Development Politics and the Changing Aid Environment

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.

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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.

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Monitoring and Evaluation when Politics Matters: Notes from Program Experience

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.

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New Journal Article: Local Energy Efficiency Policy Implementation in China

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.

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Advocating a mixed methods approach to the evaluation of politics

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.

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Political Settlements, Elite Pacts and Governments of National Unity

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.

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Bringing History Back in: Three Big Books

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.

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Different Take on Africa - the importance of leadership

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.

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'Reform' Coalitions: A New Concept Paper

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.

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Riker in the Tropics: Revisiting the Theory of Political Coalitions (1962)

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.

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Coalitions in the Politics of Development - A Workshop Report

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.

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Coalitions Workshop Sydney 15-16 February 2012

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.

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Leadership and the 'emerging' African 'success' stories

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.

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Commonwealth Secretariat Senior Leaders Forum "Leadership at the Centre"

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.

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Trends and transformations in African political leadership since 1960: Some evidence

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.

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Princeton University Program: Innovations for Successful Societies

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.

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Working Politically for Pro-Poor Policies in Indonesia

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.

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Examining the Drivers of Change in Yemen - a presentation to Australian Government departments

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.

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Adelphi 420: Yemen and the Politics of Permanent Crisis

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.

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DLP and Oxfam: Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Workshop

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.

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A Report on DLP's first Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt

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.

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UN Women International Roundtable in Egypt

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.

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A New Paper: The Politics of Free Public Services in Indonesia

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.

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Research and Policy Workshop in Frankfurt

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.

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New Paper: Yemen: Developmental Dysfunction and Division in a Crisis State

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.

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New Paper: Working Politically Behind Red Lines: Women's Coalitions in Egypt and Jordan

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.

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New Paper: The Politics of a Women's Rights Coalition in South Africa

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.

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A new publication: Higher education and the formation of developmental elites

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.

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A new publication: An analysis of leadership development programmes

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.

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Workshop: Political dimensions of development programming

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.

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New paper on 'The Anatomy of Political Predation in Zimbabwe'

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.

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New paper on 'Growth Alliances: Insights from Egypt'

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.

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The Elephant in the Room: Politics and the Development Problem

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".

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Politics into practice: A dialogue on governance strategies and action

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".

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Political Dimensions of Development Programming

Thursday 2nd December 2010

A joint DLP-Asia Foundation workshop on the Political Dimensions of Development Programming was held in Canberra, Australia, on 2nd and 3rd December 2010 for staff of AusAID.

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New papers on 'Political Settlements'

Tuesday 16th November 2010

We draw your attention to two recent papers, one by Dr Bill Cole and Tom Parks of the Asia Foundation (a partner organization of the DLP); and the other by Dr Edward Laws, a DLP Researcher.

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Lowy Institute paper on Leadership

Thursday 28th October 2010

A recent study by the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, funded by the DLP, explores the influence which secondary and higher education and scholarships have had on leaderships in Samoa and Timor Leste.

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First International Conference in Responsible Leadership

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.

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GTZ Brown Bag Lunch

Monday 22nd March 2010

Adrian Leftwich gave a brown bag lunch at GTZ talking on: "Beyond Institutions: Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in the Politics of Development"

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About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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New findings on education and developmental leadership in the Philippines

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.

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Political settlements in Africa

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.

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