News & Events
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The paper explains the variation in the provision of public services across district governments in Indonesia, and assesses the policy implications for donors and other development actors interested in improving Indonesian citizens’ access to basic education and health services.
This brief is based on a review of the literature on security and justice provision. It notes that the importance of a politically nuanced approach to security and justice programming is widely recognised, but a mismatch between policy and practice remains.
There is a consensus amongst academics and practitioners that security and justice are intrinsically political. When providing assistance in this sector, donors are engaging with the fundamentally political nature of the state. This literature review examines current knowledge on how politics and power affect security and justice programming, and vice versa, and how donors can provide assistance in this sector that is more politically informed.
This Concept Brief offers a concise introduction to the core elements of 'state legitimacy'. It addresses four questions: How is the concept of legitimacy best understood? Why is it important? How do states accrue legitimacy? And what policy implications follow from this?
The provision of public services typically involves many actors, state and non-state, at different phases of the process. The variety of interfaces between the state and the private sector can have important implications – for how services are delivered and who benefits, for the balance of power, for state legitimacy, and for accountability. This paper seeks to understand the conditions in which different institutional arrangements for public service provision produce developmental outcomes.
This paper finds that most services are provided by multiple actors, although the combinations of roles and modes of interaction vary. There is strong evidence that public-private partnerships work best where there is a good fit with local norms and expectations – legitimacy – and structured relationships with institutions that can monitor providers and have the independence to do so.
This paper carves a path through the sprawling debate on the meaning and measurement of state legitimacy, and sets out a political approach to researching it. The paper also provides an analytical framework that applies this political approach to a key question for state-building practitioners and legitimacy scholars: whether, when and why service delivery supports or undermines state legitimacy.
State legitimacy is an important concept for understanding power and politics, yet research on it has been surprisingly apolitical. Explaining legitimation and de-legitimation requires attention to political structures, ideas and agency – in particular, to the expectations established through the social contract, the nature of the political settlement, and how legitimacy claims are made and contested in public discourse.
This article in World Development, co-authored by Claire Mcloughlin, proposes a framework for understanding and comparing the politics of different services. Policy responses can be targeted to address service characteristics where they present opportunitiesfor, or constraints to, better services.
In this article in Governance, Claire Mcloughlin takes stock of the theory and evidence on the relationship between service delivery and state legitimacy in fragile and conflict-affected states, challenging common assumptions.
This annotated bibliography identifies academic and more policy-oriented literature about the relationship between service delivery and state legitimacy, social cohesion and social stability.
This open access article in The Journal of Development Studies examines why the poor in Africa are more likely than the better off to pay a bribe for state provided services. Are the poor seen as 'easy targets' by bribe-seeking bureaucrats, or is it that they use state services more than those who can afford private services?
This study examines how, in the context of Myanmar's transition to democracy and growing international openness, reformers were able to use political savvy, strong leadership and smart institutional design to overhaul the country's telecoms sector. It highlights emerging lessons from this process.
This paper explores the role of public service provision in undermining state legitimacy. It analyses why higher education aggravated a dual crisis of the legitimacy of the Sri Lankan state during the critical juncture of 1956-1974.
This two-page brief draws on an in-depth case study of higher education and processes of state (de-)legitimation over three decades in Sri Lanka.
When the Virtuous Circle Unravels: Unfair Service Provision and State De-legitimation in Divided Societies
This open access article in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding highlights the importance of people's perceptions of fairness in service delivery.
This case study examines how bribery has been reduced in Uganda's health sector as a likely consequence of the work of the Health Monitoring Unit, especially its high-profile raids. However, unintended consequences may undermine sustainable success.
This case study examines why bribery in the police service in South Africa's Limpopo province between 2011 and 2015 reduced more than in other provinces during the same period. It concludes that it was a ‘benign side effect’ of a separate anticorruption intervention. However, the case highlights that a disruptive event can counteract sector-specific factors that enable entrenched patterns of corruption, and that this can happen more quickly than expected.