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Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations
Search Search Log In Post. Close Save changes. Marketlinks Team. October 17, Filed Under: Market Facilitation. Enabling Environment. You May Also Like Post. Kojo Appiah was one of many grid-connected The widest ranging expressions of this strand are found in the work of North et al. North et al. Acemoglu and Robinson advance a similar argument regarding extractive versus inclusive political institutions, marshalling historical evidence that societies with inclusive institutions are more successful over time, while societies whose institutions are extractive ultimately block growth and sow the seeds of their own destruction.
Fukuyama also addresses the history of political evolution, which he characterizes in terms of the emergence of a state's governing apparatus composed of competent and honest officials, the rule of law constraining the behavior of both ruled and rulers, and increased accountability via elections and the growth of notions of a shared public good.
In his view, these three constitute the pillars of a stable state.
These sweeping historical perspectives have found expression in public sector reform in several ways. First, they suggest what institutional arrangements need to be put in place to lay the foundation for inclusive socioeconomic development. Second, they inform the stream of literature that posits that viable reforms begin with a country's political settlement, which sets the stage for the politics of governance and the social contract, what kinds of reforms can consequently be pursued with some chance of success, and what key actors are likely to have the incentives to be committed to achieving these e.
Third, they provide a foundation for a range of citizen accountability mechanisms Brinkerhoff and Wetterberg, The governance and public sector management literature has had a robust stream of analysis and practice pointing out the importance of politics and political mapping that predates these historical framings Brinkerhoff, , but these frameworks have increased the salience of institutional perspectives. The second strand moves beyond seeking to put in place public sector organizations and processes that replicate the form of those in industrialized countries—what is termed institutional isomorphism—to concentrate on the core functions of public management.
The factual basis of the story is disputed, but the term has come to refer to any sort of effort intended to deceive through creating a false image that covers up a negative reality. External pressures may lead country decision makers to adopt the visible trappings of reforms—for example, civil service restructuring, computerized budgeting, and competitive procurement—without actually implementing them to achieve their intended function Krause, To reduce the chances of empty mimicry and decoupling, donor public sector reform strategies are changing to concentrate on politically informed diagnostics and on solving specific performance problems Bunse and Fritz, ; World Bank, The US Agency for International Development argues for attention to country systems and understanding how their structures and processes facilitate or impede public sector management USAID, Contrary to the NPM ideology that the public sector is an impediment to development and should be targeted for downsizing, this strand has reinforced the current widely accepted perception that building the public sector's capacity, efficiency, effectiveness, integrity, accountability, and responsiveness is key to achieving a broad range of socioeconomic development goals.
This viewpoint recognizes the salience of the quality of governance, not simply its quantitative aspects. This strand has its roots in a longstanding search for answers to the question, how can public sector reform design and implementation best be pursued to increase the chances of achieving success? The search has been inseparably intertwined with the policies and practices of international donor agencies, which shape externally supported reforms in all sectors in developing countries receiving international assistance.
Key points in the discourse have revolved around the extent to which goals and implementation plans can or should be predefined, who defines them, how much flexibility is both possible and acceptable given reporting and accountability concerns, and how to determine and measure success Brinkerhoff and Ingle, NPM, with its universalist solutions to public management performance failings, encouraged predefined goals and measures, blueprint reform designs and implementation templates, which in the opinion of some analysts reinforced isomorphic mimicry and decoupling.
From the global level the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals to the national and local levels, governments are pressed to commit to specific objectives as assessed by quantifiable indicators, as are their international donor partners.
This dynamic discourages PDIA and the kind of experimentation and flexibility needed for innovation and scaling up. However, there are examples that illustrate how process approaches like PDIA can be reconciled with donor practices. Brinkerhoff and Crosby's analysis of policy change managers recounts a number of cases of such reformers.
Faustino and Booth , drawing on a study of development entrepreneurs in the Philippines, argue that innovators and change champions are more prevalent across a range of country contexts than is generally assumed. Brinkerhoff Forthcoming confirms that reforms require institutional entrepreneurs from within the systems targeted for change as well as from the outside, and those fringe actors can become catalysts to engage otherwise latent public sector change agents.
A collective action approach enables the identification of more creative and productive solutions to public goods provision, reframes the role of citizens beyond simply sources of customer demand, and builds from an understanding of incentives that the political economy analyses noted earlier can provide. The contributions in this volume both illustrate and extend the analytic and operational trajectories in these strands. They nuance current thinking on public sector reform and generate alternative guidance to the NPM orthodoxy. Here, we briefly summarize the articles and highlight their key points.
Brian Levy 's contribution fits squarely in the political economy strand for improving public sector reform. His regime typology varies along two dimensions: dominant versus competitive political settlements and personal versus impersonal institutions. Levy then characterizes public sector reforms in terms of the extent to which they aim for comprehensive or incremental change, and whether they are based on principal—agent or principal—principal interactions.
He subsequently maps these reform types to the typology of political and institutional contexts, which provides the basis for determining good fit. His discussion recognizes the decisional calculus that political elites undertake in deciding what sorts of public sector reforms to pursue, which helps to illuminate country ownership.
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Levy is careful to specify that his framework is not another blueprint for reform, but that it aims to identify the most relevant and feasible reforms and to adapt and modify reform agendas based on learning. Among the public sector reforms that has often been treated as a universal is decentralization, leading to overly simplistic conceptions of how it should be designed and managed. Paul Smoke provides a critique of standard decentralization reforms and argues for better recognition of the heterogeneous nature of decentralization and for paying more attention to the impact of context—particularly political economy—on prospects for achieving intended results.
He notes that earlier research was dominated by assessment of how closely reforms followed normative criteria and the degree to which they were implemented as intended. More recent research has prioritized various decentralization results, including better service delivery, quality of life, and governance e.
Smoke's analysis illustrates the political economy strand of public sector reform thinking, emphasizing the wide variety of decentralized institutional structures and the consequent range of incentives that are created, both at the center and the periphery.
Given this variation, the exact form decentralization takes differs considerably, as do the ways that decentralization functions and the roles of decentralized managers. However, Chowns finds that the results are less than expected and the approach may better serve governments and donors than communities. Donors and government both national and local , she finds, are quick to define the problem with disappointing water management results as stemming from the community, while communities are more likely to blame insufficient resource investment and government engagement.
Problem definition implicitly presents opportunities to shift responsibility and blame when results are less than expected. Governments may be highly motivated to delegate water management responsibility to local communities, whereas community members may be less motivated to finance maintenance, for example. She provides a political economy analysis to explain why the reforms were adopted in form and then examines how they evolved to eventually embrace significant portions of their functions.
The complex interplay of external pressure, domestic policy reformers, and citizen demand recasts the donor role from one of convener to facilitator. This finding highlights the role of donors and other external actors as neutral conveners. Schnell demonstrates how PDIA efforts can realistically be operationalized. It may be, for example, that these processes are not programmable, but necessarily emerge organically from the interplay of these actors and institutions as reforms become embedded in broader systems of accountability.
Iterative adaptation, in this example, occurred through the political process and included seeming triumphs and setbacks for giving teeth to the reforms. Schnell illustrates how politicians' calculus may include a risk analysis of whether reforms will actually be enforced, leading some to support asset disclosure, for example. Matt Andrews focuses on an enduring issue in governance reforms: how to implement changes that effectively fulfill necessary functions rather than installing superficial systems that imitate the formal accoutrements of government institutional decoupling.
He builds upon the earlier work on PDIA, which seeks to help developing countries to avoid these traps, and provides a detailed picture of how PDIA can be applied in practice, using an action research example of judicial reform in Mozambique. Andrews illustrates how the PDIA approach can enable a better contextual fit of reforms, as they can be adapted to newly recognized features of the reform environment. Related learning through the collective experience of agents across government ministries, with external facilitation, can enhance capacities, yielding results that, even if only initially modest, can enhance the legitimacy of reform processes.
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Jennifer Brinkerhoff examines agency in institutional reform. Brinkerhoff confirms that institutional reform is both a political and psychological project. She highlights three defining features of institutional entrepreneurism: political engagement as all reforms challenge the existing distribution of costs and benefits , crafting messaging and modeling to promote the cognitive ease of adoption, and networked action. The strategic actions outlined include cultural and interactional strategies to promote acceptance of the need for change and the adoption of the proposed reform.
Related framing highlights the importance of structuring incentives for adoption, and also for promoting reforms in ways that minimize cognitive dissonance. Supporting the cognitive ease of adoption includes referencing existing institutions, and particularly appealing to shared, often public, values and identity constructs.
Together, these efforts aim to ensure the functional adoption of reforms, not just the rhetoric.
The application and analysis confirm institutional entrepreneurism as a collective endeavor with multiple and shifting institutional entrepreneurs and agents networked to provide the necessary resources and skills for each stage in the reform process. Analogous to the literature review in Robinson , Clare Cummings provides a broad synopsis of promising perspectives on public sector reform that examine reformers' attitudes, behaviors, and entrepreneurial propensities and proposes they can contribute to effective reform implementation.
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Like J. She explores how theories and concepts of entrepreneurialism might inform adaptive and flexible public sector reforms. Entrepreneurs' intrinsic motivators include increasing mastery and competence, achieving a valued purpose, and functioning autonomously to pursue their goals. She notes country examples from Eritrea, Nigeria, Rwanda, and the Philippines that suggest contexts and reform designs that support these motivations are conducive to achieving desired outcomes and results.
Particularly important to achieving results is the recognition that reformers do not operate as lone actors; possibilities for success are enhanced through collective institutional entrepreneurship. Cummings flags barriers to adopting public sector reform approaches that enable entrepreneurially driven innovation.
Another barrier concerns the political economy within which country reformers are situated; if key country actors are not committed to supporting the kinds of iterative and flexible processes that enable innovation, then entrepreneurial reformers will find it difficult to move forward. We highlight the significance of functional mimicry, challenges of measuring results, alternative analytic and process frameworks for action, the tensions between ownership and outside expertise, and further reflections on political economy analysis.
Schnell, Andrews, and J. Brinkerhoff nuance our understanding of isomorphic mimicry and institutional decoupling.