Capability Traps? The Mechanisms of Persistent Implementation Failure

Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock, Matt Andrews

Many countries remain trapped in situations of low productivity, low GDP per capita and widespread poverty. Economic growth is one dimension of development, while another is the expansion of the administrative capacity of the state.This paper describes how many countries remain in ‘state capability traps’ where the capability of the state to implement is severely limited or ...» more

Beyond Institutions: Rethinking the Role of Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in the Institutional Formation of Developmental States and Strategies

Adrian Leftwich

Development practitioners and policymakers have tended to rely heavily on structuralist approaches with an emphasis on institutions and institution building. They have failed to take account of ‘agential factors in the design, formation and maintenance of institutions, and for important success stories that run against general patterns of institutional failure or corruption’ ...» more

Development as a collective action problem: addressing the real challenges of African governance

David Booth

There has been growing recognition in the literature that governance reforms should be guided not by ‘best practices’ based on experience in the West, but by approaches that attain a ‘good fit’ with the needs and possibilities of particular developing countries.This report argues that this alternative agenda remains ‘dangerously content-free’. There is a need to spell out what ...» more

Access to Water in the Slums of Sub-Saharan Africa

Hulya Dagdeviren, Simon A. Robertson

This paper examines the limitations of private-sector-oriented solutions to water supply in informal settlements and argues that market-oriented solutions are inappropriate for sub-Saharan African countries where over two-thirds of the urban population live in squatter settlements with multidimensional challenges. There are particular concerns over the pricing, regulation, and ...» more

Removing user fees in the health sector: a review of policy processes in six sub-Saharan African countries

Bruno Meessen, David Hercot, Mathieu Noirhomme, Valéry Ridde, Abdelmajid Tibouti, Christine Kirunga Tashobya, Lucy Gilson

In recent years, governments of several low-income countries have taken decisive action by removing fully or partially user fees in the health sector. This study reviews recent reforms in six sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal and Uganda. The review describes the processes and strategies through which user fee removal reforms have been ...» more

Understanding and Improving Accountability in Education: A Conceptual Framework and Guideposts from Three Decentralization Reform Experiences in Latin America

Alec Ian Gershberg, Pablo Alberto González, Ben Meade

This paper builds a framework for understanding accountability reforms in the education sector and develops three illustrative Latin American cases of governance reform in the education sector (Chile, Nicaragua and Bogotá, Colombia). This framework pays attention to exit and voice alternatives (where exit alternatives introduce competition between providers and voice ...» more

The World Bank’s Approach to Public Sector Management 2011-2020: “Better Results from Public Sector Institutions”

World Bank

‘Public sector management (PSM) reform is concerned with improving public sector results by changing the way governments work. It is a challenging reform area in which to offer assistance. Sustainable institutional change often requires that thousands of public agents alter their behaviour, and political incentives may be at odds with improving public sector performance. ‘What ...» more

Governance failure: rethinking the institutional dimensions of urban water supply to poor households

Karen Bakker, Michelle Kooy

This paper examines factors that explain the persistent failure of both public and private water supply system operators to achieve high rates of individual network connections to poor households in urban areas.Much of the recent literature has focused on the “ownership” versus “institutions” debate, and the relative merits of public versus private management of water supply ...» more

Pipe Dreams? The Governance of Urban Water Supply in Informal Settlements, New Delhi

Suneetha Dasappa Kacker, Anuradha Joshi

Based on fieldwork on urban water supply in New Delhi, this paper shows that while informal providers fill a gap left by the public utility, residents can remain captive consumers with limited ability to influence service quality or price.In this case, residents were successfully able to organise themselves to drive improvements to services through a gradual evolution of their ...» more

Regulating water services for all in developing economies

Esther Gerlach, Richard Franceys

Economic regulation is being introduced into the water services sector in developing economies, where widespread poverty and service inadequacies affect regulatory rationales. This paper analyses the regulatory experience in 11 metropolitan areas with respect to the challenge of reaching all urban consumers, particularly the poor.Evidence suggests that pro-poor regulatory ...» more

School Governance, Teacher Incentives, and Pupil- Teacher Ratios: Experimental Evidence from Kenyan Primary Schools

Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, Michael Kremer

This paper assesses a programme that allowed Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) to recruit novice teachers in Kenya. The study found that despite only receiving a quarter of the pay of government-employed teachers, these PTA-hired teachers had fewer days off and achieved better results for their students.The study found that the benefits of the programme were limited by the fact ...» more

Pitfalls of Participatory Programs: Evidence From a Randomized Evaluation in Education in India

Abhijit Banerjee, Rukmini Banerji, Esther Duflo, Rachel Glennerster, Stuti Khemani

Participation of beneficiaries in the monitoring of education services is seen as a key mechanism for improving their efficiency. The government in India organizes both locally elected leaders and parents of children enrolled in public schools into committees. These committees are given powers over resource allocation, monitoring and management of school performance. The paper ...» more

Making schools work: new evidence on accountability reforms

Barbara Bruns, Deon Filmer, Harry Anthony Patrinos

This study looks at efforts to improve accountability in the education sector. It focuses on service delivery failures – cases where resources for education have increased but where these have not led to an improvement in outcomes. The authors argue that a key cause of low quality and unequal public services in education is weak accountability of providers to both their ...» more

Decentralisation, governance and health-system performance: “where you stand depends on where you sit”

Andrew Mitchell, Thomas J. Bossert

It is often argued that when decentralisation is accompanied by adequate mechanisms of accountability service delivery will improve. From a governance perspective, it is generally argued that decentralisation of the health sector is the right thing to do as long as the underlying conditions of good governance exist and/or decentralisation will strengthen those conditions. From ...» more

Governance in the Health Sector: A Strategy for Measuring Determinants and Performance

William D. Savedoff

The role of rules and institutions in influencing the behaviour of health systems is increasingly acknowledged. This paper reviews the concept of governance as it is used in the literature on private firms, public administration, international development and health. The paper argues that governance should be understood as the combination of political, social, economic and ...» more

Health Sector Governance and Implications for the Private Sector

D. Balabanova, V. Oliveira-Cruz, K. Hanson

Although the private sector plays an increasingly important role in the health systems of developing countries, policymakers have paid insufficient attention to it and often lack experience of engaging with private sector actors through flexible and consensual approaches. The authors propose a governance framework for conceptualising the role of government in contexts where the ...» more

Land transparency programmes and land data platforms

Key findings: Land administration in developing countries often fails to be pro-active, service-oriented, inclusive and pro-poor. These failures can lead to a range of issues including corruption, fraud, extortion and human rights violations. Several countries are currently reforming land policies and introducing new approaches to land administration. These efforts generally ...» more

Preventing conflict between refugees and host communities

This report includes programme examples from 13 countries. It highlights three main types of programme designed to tackle tensions and conflicts between refugees and host communities:Integrated humanitarian and development programmes – these seek to balance assistance to both refugee and host communities, or integrate services provided to them. Conflict resolution programmes – ...» more