How much do we really know about what 'thinking and working politically' can achieve – and where it might present dangers – in challenging political and sectoral contexts?
Why it can be hard to start a conversation with the people who might know what really works in the fight against corruption.
Guest post for Devpolicy on findings from a DLP-supported study on decentralisation and service provision.
How do anticorruption messages influence people’s views about corruption and about anticorruption efforts?
A look at what happens when gender analysis is placed more squarely at the heart of governance work. (Guest post in The Conversation)
Societies with more inclusive institutions are more peaceful and more resilient, and tend to be better governed - but how do they get there?
Learning how to balance the technically possible and politically feasible in volatile, conflict-affected contexts.
Guest post on Devpolicy introducing panels at this week's Australasian Aid Conference
The poor aren't simply 'easy targets' - they necessarily come into contact with corrupt state officials more often.
Focusing on budget accountability ‘ecosystems’ and their influence on budget decision-making and implementation.
It takes more than a fairly-won election to guarantee that the elected will put their citizens first, rather than themselves. (Guest post for Africa at LSE)
Promoting and sustaining individual behavioural change is as important as building flexibility into development programming.
Understanding how to make democratic transitions as economically painless as possible.
How do we explain the profound dissatisfaction with the quality of representation now manifest in democracies everywhere?
Many different paths, but all leading to similar destinations - and adding useful nuance to development thinking and practice.
Following up to Luke Arnold on coalitions for disability inclusion in Indonesia, Angie Bexley introduces broader work on the inclusion of six marginalised groups.
Bringing to the fore some of the unique problems faced by the Pacific region.
The next step on from a rights-based approach to disability inclusion is to hand over control to those who know best - people with disabilities.
More nuanced anti-corruption work should focus on results - and even put up with some corruption if things are working well. (Guest post for Prospect)
Why, despite the best of intentions and the investment of significant resources, do peace processes so often fail to lead to a stable and lasting peace after civil war?
Emerging lessons from the Central Land Council’s community development program to strengthen Aboriginal people’s participation in mainstream Australia.
Anna Naupa's 2016 Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture discussed where most transformation happens - in drafting the rules, or in putting them into action.
The importance of tailoring parliamentary support programmes to their context. (Guest post for openDemocracy)
The parallels between - and ethical dilemmas of - anthropology's focus on context and international development's ‘thinking and working politically’ concept.
How international development agencies need to change to confound the sceptics. (Guest post for the OECD's Institutions and Stability blog)
A DLP research project looks at the politics of economic reform through the lens of Myanmar's remarkable transformation of its telecoms sector.
Priya Chattier will speak at DLP's 2016 Annual Conference. Her post here begins a short series on the conference theme of Power, politics and positive deviance.
A new 'thinking and working politically' community of practice aims to develop practical guidance for development practitioners based on evidence of what works in politically smart programming.
PNG's BPW Port Moresby, a case study for a DLP research project, is an impressive example of local women networking without donor assistance to advance gender equity.
The Developmental Leadership Program will host its 2016 Annual Conference at La Trobe University in Melbourne on 8 February. Its theme is Power, politics and positive deviance.
Sex-disaggregated data tells us little about the gender-related impact of an intervention, argues DLP research fellow Gillian Fletcher, since gender is a process of judgement linked to norms about femininity or masculinity.
DLP research fellow Claire Mcloughlin challenges the widely held assumption that there is a self-reinforcing 'virtuous circle' between service delivery and state legitimacy.
Medellin's transformation has not just been a technical fix. The political changes behind social urbanism are an essential element of understanding what has happened in the city.
DLP's contribution to a new-style field guide for development practitioners. Guest post in FP2P
Only through putting inclusiveness first can fragile states begin to break the dysfunctional societal and institutional patterns that hold back change.
The useful role a research diary can play in the assimilation and ordering of qualitative data.
Investigating the causal relationship between the national development of higher education and good governance.
The inescapable conundrum that politics involves actual politicians is one reason why the subject of political settlements generates so much debate.
What we can learn from areas of stability and calm in regions where near neighbours seem to be struggling to resolve strife.
Can donors, researchers, policymakers and practitioners all agree on what we mean when we talk about 'political settlements'?
DLP hosted a day-long high level introductory workshop on political settlements in June. This post introduces a series that showcases the contributions of researchers, policymakers and practitioners.
Social attitudes towards corruption may be shaped by beliefs and values, rather than facts.
The history of India’s largely forgotten shift to autocracy and its return to democracy can tell us much about how change happens.
Corruption is an emotive word and covers a huge range of behaviours - yet anti-corruption efforts still follow a one-size-fits-all pattern.
Examining the reluctance of those working in development to engage with the public on the complexity of corruption in poor countries. Guest post for The Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network.
This post for Devpolicy unpacks the findings of a new Development Policy Centre/DLP paper.
Next week's meeting of the Thinking and Working Politically Community of Practice will focus on gender.
FIFA may not be a developing nation, but international football has its own complex political economy. Guest post for From Poverty to Power.
Donors have recently made great efforts to understand power in partner countries. Yet they have largely ignored one of the most pervasive power relations – gender.
The Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi report tells us that how we measure affects what we do; and if our measurements are flawed, decisions may be distorted.
Thoughts on two sources of new and useful ideas about the deeper structures that might shape creativity.
Guest post for The Guardian
DLP Senior Research Partner discusses what cancer has taught him about the links between medicine and development. Guest post for From Poverty to Power.
Through photography, theatre, dance and song, young Fijian women are finding new avenues for public expression and activism.
We still don't know whether democracy drives development - or vice versa. Guest post for The Guardian
If donors are allowed to be open about the possibility of corruption, monitoring mechanisms and proportional responses can be planned - and may improve results. Guest post for the OECD.
Women are widely seen as entirely capable of taking on political leadership in Fiji. Yet when asked to think about 'leaders', many automatically see men in the role.
New thinking on the reasons why individuals engage in corruption - including the pragmatic calculation that, right or wrong, corruption may be the only solution to pressing difficulties.
Parliaments have always been treated as the poor cousins of democracy assistance efforts. (Guest post for From Poverty to Power)
Much 'petty' corruption is about the poor using what little power they have to stave off destitution. (Guest post for The Conversation)
Fieldwork in fragile places - Part 1: The security dilemma. Staying safe while collecting the data that matters.
Corruption can only be fought effectively with a coherent strategy collectively supported by all actors. (Guest post for The Guardian on UK aid watchdog report)
How do relations between political and administrative leaders affect reform?
Taking stock of recent research evidence that shows how higher education can feed into political stability and civil engagement.
A toxic blend of complex historical identity politics and short-term elite politicking
Do political dynamics affect NGO legitimacy more than performance?
Bringing politics back into PEA - a new paper with Adrian Leftwich
What hinders more politically nuanced security and justice programming?
The educated, internationally connected women who are changing the way 'development' is done
How governance and sector specialists can help each other understand the politics of service delivery
How can the impact of transparency and accountability work be deepened?
Is learning to ‘think politically’ like learning a new language?
Once seen as a 'transformative' tool to change donor thinking, does much PEA now do little to help staff think and work politically?
Why rethink the international consensus on 'quality basic education for development'?
New DLP research poses the question of whether the focus of the international development community on primary education is too narrow.
One of the most influential and enduring World Development Reports ever produced – Making Services Work for Poor People – is a decade old this year.
Beyond 'adaptability'? In this guest post, Nicole George highlights the work of women leaders who are challenging a narrow adaptation agenda.
While most development research is well on the way to embedding gender analysis, PEA - many donors' key analytical tool - largely ignores it.
A more nuanced understanding of good developmental leadership demands a shift away from the conventional focus on 'big' individuals.
Africa needs a new generation of leaders who share Nelson Mandela's vision of peace and reconciliation. (First published in The Conversation.)
Should donors support developmental leaders who gain or keep power through questionable means?
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.
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.