Public talk by DLP's Niheer Dasandi at UNDP, Singapore on successful policy reform and political-bureaucratic interaction

How has the interaction between politicians and bureaucrats helped to foster successful policy reform?

Are lessons from such interaction in developmental states like Singapore relevant to countries with relatively weak formal political institutions?

DLP Research Fellow Dr Niheer Dasandi addressed these questions in a presentation at UNDP's Global Centre for Public Service Excellence in Singapore 28 April. He discussed 'applying the Singapore model to reform processes in poorer nations'.

Recent studies of policy reform in developing countries with relatively weak formal political institutions point to the interaction between political and bureaucratic leaders as a key factor in whether such reforms succeed or fail.

Dr Dasandi reflected on the interaction between politicians and bureaucrats in cases of successful reform in developing countries. He noted that this interaction has applied many of the key characteristics of the politics-bureaucracy interface found in specific policy areas in successful developmental states, such as Singapore.

These lessons from developmental states, he argued, tend to be far more relevant for most developing countries than the good governance models typically applied in poorer nations, which have produced disappointing results.

Dr Dasandi is based at University College London (UCL). His research focuses on politics and development, particularly the links between inequality and poverty, the process of policy reform, political-bureaucratic interactions, and the political economy of aid. Before starting his PhD in Political Science at UCL, he worked as a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on poverty reduction, poverty monitoring, rural finance, and human security issues.

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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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