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Working Papers


The Working Paper series is made up of contributions from academic staff in International Development (formerly DESTIN), PhD students, and visiting fellows.

 

To be included within the series, please send manuscripts to Dipa Patel in the International Development Office (d.patel20@lse.ac.uk), along with an abstract of 150-200 words and up to six keywords. The ID Working Paper editorial team will endeavour to process your submission within three weeks.

MSc prizewinning dissertations, which were previously published as part of the Working Paper series, now have a dedicated page.

 

2017

Working Paper 185
"Community Land" in Kenya: Policy Making, Social Mobilization, and Struggle Over Legal Entitlement 
Francesca Di Matteo

Stemming from colonial legacy, independent Kenya failed to recognize customary interests in land as possessing force as statutory derived rights. This lies at the heart of the so-called “land question” in Kenya. Moreover, issues related to land rights are perceived as the root causes of conflicts occurring in the 1990s and 2000s. As a result of a crisis recovery process, the 2010 Constitution has embodied the fundaments of land reforms; it has acknowledged “communities” as legally entitled to hold land. The present paper studies decision-making processes via a socio-anthropological approach showing how it contributes to understanding the issues at stake in the reform of Kenya's land tenure system, and the politics surrounding the design of new legislation around “community land”. Through the analysis of interlocking of scales of governance, the paper documents the manner in which local actors participate in, interpret, divert, or exploit policy debates undergoing at the national level. 

  • Community
  • Land reform
  • Kenya
  • Policy process
  • Actors agency
  • Land politics

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Working Paper 184 
JUST LIKE BOLIVIA Structural Change and Political Disintegration in the West 
Prof. Jean-Paul Faguet

The rise of outsider, populist, and nativist politicians across the West is no coincidence, nor a “sign of the times”. It is symptomatic of political party systems disintegrating from the bottom up, as structural changes in the economy and society unmoor them from the major social cleavages that defined political contestation throughout the twentieth century. Predicting how the process will unfold is difficult. But we can open an analytical window into the future by examining the experience of Bolivia, where politics was much less institutionalized than the West, allowing disintegration and realignment to happen much earlier and faster. A first lesson is that left/worker vs. right/capital politics is probably doomed in societies where industrial workers as a self-conscious group have dwindled to a small fraction of the workforce. What will replace it? The current front-runner is the politics of identity, anchored in social cleavages of ethnicity, religion, language, and place. This is a danger not just for affected societies, but for democracy as an ideal, as identity politics revolves much more than class politics around exclusionary categories and zero-sum games. In the UK and Europe, realignment would likely be triggered by Brexit, and the (partial) collapse of the Eurozone. Lastly, while Evo Morales is an experienced politician with deep roots in the social organizations that now define Bolivian politics, Donald Trump is a self-created, top-down, ultimately directionless triumph of social media. Morales transformed Bolivia. Trump will likely destroy much but build little.            

  •                 Political parties              
  •                 Party system collapse              
  •                 Social cleavages              
  •                 Identity politics              
  •                 Political realignment              
  •                 Bolivia              
  •                 the West

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 183
On the 'Holy Poor': from the Hebrew Bible to the literature of developing countries, 1945 -            
David Aberbach

The notion of the ‘holy poor’ ceased to figure significantly in the literature of most developed countries after World War II but continues to resonate in countries where poverty is widespread and the Church has grown. This paper explores 1. the origins of the ‘holy poor’ in the Hebrew Bible, and its consequent betrayals and survivals; 2. the discrepancy between the image of the poor in English Poor Law and English literature from Shakespeare to Orwell; and 3. the continuing relevance of Scripture to literature on the poor in post-1945 developing countries, in Nigeria (Achebe), South Africa (Coetzee), Egypt (Mahfouz), and Brazil (Lispector).            

  •                 Poverty               
  •                 English Poor Law              
  •                 Nigeria              
  •                 South Africa              
  •                 Egypt              
  •                 Brazil

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 182
The Political Economy of Import Substitution in the 21st Century: The Challenge of Recapturing the Domestic Market in Rwanda            
Pritish Behuria

Import substitution has been marginalised from development policy discourse since the 1970s. This paper examines the Rwandan government’s recent attempt at reintroducing industrial policy with some attention devoted to ‘recapturing the domestic market’ – a term used to replace the ignominy associated with ‘import substitution.’ The paper examines two cases – cement and textiles – where such policies have been recently established in Rwanda.            

  •                 Import substitution               
  •                 Industrial Policy              
  •                 Rwanda              
  •                 Political economy              
  •                 Textiles              
  •                 Cement

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 181
The Paradox of Land Reform, Inequality and Development in Colombia            
Prof. Jean-Paul Faguet, Fabio Sanchez and Marta-Juanita Villaveces      

Over two centuries, Colombia transferred vast quantities of land, equivalent to the entire UK landmass, mainly to landless peasants. And yet Colombia retains one of the highest concentrations of land ownership in the world. Why? We show that land reform’s effects are highly bimodal. Most of Colombia’s 1100+ municipalities lack a landed elite. Here, rural properties grew larger, land inequality and dispersion fell, and development indicators improved. But in municipalities where such an elite does exist and landholding is highly concentrated, such positive effects are counteracted, resulting in smaller rural properties, greater dispersion, and lower levels of development. We show that all of these effects – positive and negative – flow through local policy, which elites distort to benefit themselves. Our evidence implies that land reform’s second-order effects, on the distribution of local power, are more important than its first-order effects on the distribution of land.            

  • Land reform              
  • Inequality              
  • Development              
  • Latifundia              
  • Poverty              
  • Colombia

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 180
REVOLUTION FROM BELOW: The Rise of Local Politics and the Fall of Bolivia's Party Systems            
Prof. Jean-Paul Faguet

For 50 years Bolivia’s political party system was a surprisingly robust component of an otherwise fragile democracy. How did a gas pipeline dispute spark a revolution that overturned the political system, destroyed existing political parties, and re-cast the relationship between state and society?  I examine how the arrival of local government shifted the nation’s politics from a typical 20th century, left-right axis of competition deeply unsuited to a society like Bolivia, to an ethnic and cultural axis more closely aligned with its major social cleavage. This shift made elite parties redundant, and transformed the country’s politics by facilitating the rise of structurally distinct political organizations, and a new indigenous political class. Decentralization was the trigger – not the cause – that made Bolivia’s latent cleavage political, sparking revolution from below.  I suggest a folk theorem of identitarian cleavage, and outline a mechanism linking deep social cleavage to sudden political change.            

  •                 Cleavage theory              
  •                 Political parties              
  •                 Elite politics              
  •                 Decentralisation              
  •                 Latin America              
  •                 Bolivia

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2016

Working Paper 179
Managing Water (In)security in Brazil- Lessons from a Megacity            
Claudia de Andrade Melim-McLeod

This paper discusses the 2013-2015 water crisis in São Paulo from a water governance perspective and seeks to offer an explanation for the crisis by exploring the political and administrative decisions that contributed to it. It aims  to uncover the rationale behind the decision making processes that, combined with drought, led to increasing water scarcity, with a view to understanding how political economy factors  impact water security in a megacity such as São Paulo. It argues that under some circumstances, elections do not promote accountability, but rather may act as an incentive to undermine it. Finally, it makes recommendations with a view to institutionalizing greater accountability, averting future crises and adapting to increased water insecurity under changing climatic conditions.            

  •                 Brazil              
  •                 São Paulo              
  •                 Water governance              
  •                 Water security              
  •                 Governance              
  •                 Climate Change

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 178
Land Politics under Kenya's New Constitution: Counties, Devolution, and the National Land Commission       
Catherine Boone (lead author)us, Seth Ouma, James Kabugu Owino, Catherine Gateri, Achiba Gargule, Jackie Klopp, and Ambreena Manji              

Kenya's new constitution, inaugurated in August 2010, altered the institutional structure of the state in complex ways.  The general motivation behind reform was to enhance the political representation of ordinary citizens in general and that of marginalized ethno-regional groups in particular, and to devolve control over resources to the county level.  In the land domain, reform objectives were as explicit and hard-hitting as they were anywhere else. Reform of land law and land administration explicitly aimed at putting an end to the bad old days of overcentralization of power in the hands of an executive branch considered by many to be corrupt, manipulative, and self-serving.

  •                 Kenya             
  •                 Devolution              
  •                 Land laws              
  •                 Reform              
  •                 Governance              
  •                 Rural livelihoods 

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 177
What causes inequity in access to publicly funded health services that are supposedly free at the point of use? A case of user fee exemptions for older people in Senegal                                                                                             
Dr Philipa Mladovsky and  Maymouna Bâ

Plan Sésame (PS) was launched in 2006 to provide free access to health services to Senegalese citizens aged 60 and over. As in many countries, this user fee exemption is marred by inequitable implementation. This study seeks to identify underlying causal mechanisms to explain how and why some people were relatively less likely to have access to publicly funded health care. Explanations identified in focus group and interview data are organised into four themes: (i) PS as a poorly implemented and accessed “right” to health care; (ii) PS as a “privilege” reserved for elites; (iii) PS as a “favour” or moral obligation to friends or family members of health workers; and (iv) PS as a “curse” caused by adverse incorporation. These results are analysed through critical realist and social constructivist epistemological lenses, in order to reflect on different interpretations of causality. Within the critical realist interpretation, the results point to a process of social exclusion. However, this interpretation, with its emphasis on objective reality, is contradicted by some local, subjective experiences of inequality and corruption. An alternative social constructionist interpretation of the results is therefore explored; it is argued this may be needed to prevent relatively powerful actors’ versions of the truth from prevailing.            

  •                 Social exclusion               
  •                 Older people               
  •                 Universal health coverage              
  •                 User fees              
  •                 Senegal              
  •                 Critical realism 

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 176          
Explaining Aid (In)Effectiveness: The Political Economy of Aid Relationships            
E.A. Brett

International aid plays an ambivalent and contested role in stabilising the global system. It creates asym-metrical relationships between donors and recipients that succeed when their interests can be can harmo-nised but not when they conflict. Donors use their support to persuade sovereign governments to adopt pol-icies they support but cannot always negotiate acceptable settlements with them, producing non-compliance and failed programmes. These relationships and strategies have changed radically since the war in response to changes in the global system, policy paradigms, and crises. We review these processes, treat-ing aid relationships as a structural component of the global system; review the different strategies adopted by donors since the war that culminated in the recent Paris Declaration and Sustainable Development Goals calling for poverty reduction and good governance. We identify the political challenges that donors con-front in addressing these issues, and examine the strengths and weaknesses of their attempts to use of Polit-ical Economy Analysis and New Public Management to address them.                      

  •                 Aid effectiveness               
  •                 Aid Relationships              
  •                 Pro-poor policies              
  •                 Political economy analysis              
  •                 Paris Declaration              
  •                 Fragile states              
  •                 Democratisation              
  •                 Sustainable Development Goals              
  •                 New Public Management

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 175
The TPP and the digital trade agenda: digital industrial policy and Silicon Valley’s influence on new trade agreement                                                     
Dr Shamel Azmeh and Dr Christopher Foster

The global economy is undergoing a digital shift that is likely to intensify with rapid growth in digital trade and digital-based restructuring of economic sectors. While trade in “traditional” goods and services is subject to enforceable rules through multiple agreements, key areas relevant to the digital economy are weakly regulated. This has provided policy space for latecomer economies to implement what we call digital industrial policy. Through denying market access, data localization, and technology transfers, some of the digital industrial policy tools represent a threat to US firms that dominated the digital world and to the position of the US economy as a global digital leader. Consequently, underpinned by growing political power of Silicon Valley, the US adopted the “digital trade agenda” in its trade policy particularly in the so-called 21st century trade agreements; the TPP and TTIP. This trade agenda is likely to expand in the future and will have important implications on digital and economic development.                   

  •                 Digital industrial policy               
  •                 Trans-pacific partnership              
  •                 Data localization              
  •                 The digital trade agenda              
  •                 Silicon Valley              
  •                 Digital catching-up

Download the paper here

 

2015

Working Paper 174
Land and Property Institutions: endogenous origins and equilibrium effects
Prof. Catherine Boone

The idea of the state in Africa as institutionless underlies much contemporary theorizing about African politics. The term "neopatrimonialism" - widely employed in the comparative politics literature to describe African political systems - implies lack of institutionalization, centralization of power in the hands of a supreme ruler, and government through personalized, shifting networks. The counterpart of this idea is institution-less conceptualization of society, and most importantly perhaps, of rural society, which accounts for 50-90% of the total population of almost all African states. This paper reverses this image of structure-less states and societies. It focuses on rural land tenure institutions and argues that they are the product of institution-building strategies of Africa's modern rulers, both colonial and postcolonial. 
  

  •                 Africa              
  •                 Neopatrimonialism              
  •                 Land-tenure              
  •                 Institution              
  •                 Rural society

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Working Paper 173
Decentralizing for a Deeper Democracy and a More Supple State
Prof. Jean-Paul Faguet, Dr Ashley M. Fox, and Dr Caroline Pöschl

Well-designed decentralization can deepen democracy and strengthen the state in five key ways. Decentralizing below the level of social cleavages should undermine secessionism by peeling away moderates from radical leaders. The "fragmentation of authority" critique is mistaken; decentralization transforms the state from a simpler, brittler command structure to one of multilevel complementarity more robust to local failure. Decentralizing services with low economies of scale, with devolved taxation and bail-outs prohibited, should increase accountability. Lastly, the small scale of local politics allows citizens to become political actors, promoting social learning-by-doing, strengthening political legitimacy and 'democratic suppleness' from the grass-roots upwards.            

  •                 Decentralization              
  •                 State Strength              
  •                 Fragile States              
  •                 Social Learning              
  •                 Government Accountability              

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Working Paper 172
Captured Countryside? Stability and Change in Sub-national Support for African Incumbent Parties
Prof. Catherine Boone and Dr Michael Wahman

Many existing accounts of African elections assume that voters base their electoral decisions on cues and incentives that are anchored in highly stable ethnic cleavage structures. Yet several newer contributions to the study of African electoral politics have questioned the ethno-clientelistic voting thesis and highlighted other determinants of vote choice, such as class, ideology and performance evaluation. Existing research has, however, not dealt with geographic dimensions of electoral dynamics. In this paper we contribute to this literature by studying Government-Opposition Swing (GOS) voting in 7 African countries, 28 elections and 1900 parliamentary constituencies. We show that the likelihood of GOS differs from urban to rural, and across different types of rural constituencies. GOS is significantly more common in urban areas and in highly populated rural areas, but significantly less common in the president’s home region and in sparsely populated rural regions. The results suggest that electoral and voting dynamics vary across space, even within a single country. We draw inferences about how political and economic geography shapes prospects for autonomous vote choice and performance-related voting.                     

  •                 Africa              
  •                 Elections              
  •                 Democracy              
  •                 Voting              
  •                 Urban-Rural              
  •                 Political Geography

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 171
Building Security, Justice and Public Authority in Weak States: contested transitions, unstable social orders and institutional hybridity
Prof. E.A. Brett

Orthodox theorists assume that security and justice, as well as other essential services should be provided by modern state and private institutions in Late Developing Countries, but they provide very inadequate cover in most weal states and almost none in fragile or conflict states where local communities need to rely on often reinvented ‘traditional’ institutions to maintain order and create livelihoods. These coexist and interact in complex and often contradictory ways with modern institutions creating dualistic societies whose institutional arrangements and evolutionary processes can only be understood by developing a theoretical apparatus that not only obliges us to identify the principles that govern both modern and traditional systems, but also the way in which they co-exist and co-evolve together to produce unique hybrid solutions and developmental trajectories. We show how this approach allows us to develop a convincing historically based analysis of the problems involved in creating political order in weak states, and show how Malinowski’s ‘three column anthropology’ (1945/61) provides us with a powerful analytical tool when we do so.                   

  •                 Political Order              
  •                 Security and Justice              
  •                 Conflict States              
  •                 Dualism              
  •                 Hybrid Institutions              
  •                 Malinowski

Download paper here

 


Working Paper 170
Instrumental Incoherence in Institutional Reform: Decentralization and a Structural Solution to Political Exigency
Prof. Jean-Paul Faguet and Dr Mahvish Shami

If the effects of institutional reforms are long-term and unpredictable, why do leaders undertake them? We analyze reforms where the incentives of agents pursuing a change, and the effects of that change, are highly asymmetric in time and policy dimensions. We examine detailed evidence from decentralization in Bolivia and Pakistan, and explain very different outcomes with a simple game-theoretic model of the incentives and interactions amongst ruling and opposition parties, and civil society, over multiple periods. Politicians decentralize to solve a discrete, often short-term political problem. But decentralization is neither short-term nor discrete, but rather a deep change in the structure of public finance and authority with long-term effects on government, politics and society. Understanding the original problem is key to understanding the characteristics of the reform implemented, as well as its ultimate success or failure. Our analysis likely extends to a broader class of deep reforms with long-term consequences.            

  •                 Decentralization              
  •                 Pakistan              
  •                 Bolivia              
  •                 Institutional Reform

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 169
Transformation from Below in Bolivia and Bangladesh: Decentralization, Local Governance, and Systemic Change
Prof. Jean-Paul Faguet

I examine decentralization through the lens of the local dynamics it unleashed in the much-noted case of Bolivia and the less-noted case of Bangladesh. I argue that the national effects of decentralization are largely the sum of its local-level effects. Hence to understand decentralization we must first understand how local government works. This implies analysing not only decentralization, but also democracy, from the bottom up.  Beginning with Bolivia, I explore the deep economic and institutional determinants of government quality in two extremes of municipal performance. From this I derive a model of local government responsiveness as the product of political openness and substantive competition. The quality of politics, in turn, emerges endogenously as a joint product of the lobbying and political engagement of local firms/interests, and the organizational density and ability of civil society. The model explains the micro-foundations of good vs. bad local government performance, and hence of Bolivia’s overall decentralization success.  I then test these ideas using qualitative data from Bangladesh. The evidence shows that civic organizations worked with NGOs and local governments to effect transformative change from the grass-roots upwards – not just to public budgets and outputs, but to the underlying behaviours and ideas that underpin social development.  In the aggregate, these effects were powerful.  Key development indicators show Bangladesh leap-frogging past much wealthier India between 1990 and 2015.  The combination of tests shows that the model generalizes to very different institutional, cultural, and economic contexts.                   

  •                 Democracy              
  •                 Decentralization              
  •                 Local government              
  •                 Good governance              
  •                 Civil society              
  •                 Bolivia              
  •                 Bangladesh

Download the paper here

 


Working Paper 168
The Democratic Contribution of Participatory Budgeting
Prof. Yves Cabannes (UCL) and Dr Barbara Lipietz (UCL)

Participatory Budgeting (PB) has emerged as one of the major innovations in participatory governance for local management and local democracy world-wide. With more than 3,000 experiences recorded in over forty countries, PB is gradually changing the living conditions of increasing numbers of citizens across the world. Highly heterogeneous in processes and underlying ambitions, PB in its diversity provides a challenging alternative to the New Public Management-informed route to public sector reform. In most cases, PB has positively contributed to administrative modernization and other 'good governance' imperatives, including bringing substance to decentralization policies. In its most radical incarnations, PB has moreover contributed to inversing established spatial, social and political priorities in cities, in favour of the more deprived.

  •                 Participatory budgeting              
  •                 Governance              
  •                 Democratization              
  •                 Spatial justice              
  •                 Local governments

Download the paper here 

 

2014

Working Paper 159
Reframing African Political Economy: Clientelism, Rents and Accumulation as Drivers of Capitalist Transformation
Dr Hazel Gray and Dr Lindsay Whitfield

This paper examines the underlying assumptions about socioeconomic transformation within the dominant approaches to the political economy of African countries. We argue that the dominant frameworks within African Studies miss important aspects of contemporary processes of socioeconomic change. As an alternative, we argue that political settlements theory provides a better theoretical framework through which to understand contemporary African political economy. We set out the major assumptions and trace the intellectual landscape in which to locate the Political Settlement approach in a way which highlights the distinctions with existing dominant approaches in African studies. The paper then goes on to explain the underlying assumptions about capitalist transformation and the drivers of clientelism embedded within a political settlements approach. We explain how variations in politics and clientelism stem from variations in the distribution of power across countries and how these variations affect the process of capitalist transformation. The paper outlines the implications of the Political Settlements approach for the study of African political economy. It argues that there is not one African political economy, because the distribution of power is quite diverse across African countries; rather, what has accounted for many similarities in African experiences is to be found in the size and capabilities of domestic capitalists and the historical construction of relations between domestic capitalists and the state over time. In concluding, we propose the contours of a new research agenda based on the Political Settlements approach.            

  •                 Socioeconomic transformation               
  •                 Clientelism               
  •                 Africa               
  •                 Political Economy               
  •                 Neo-patrimony 

Download the paper here

 Working Papers from 2000-2013 can be viewed here.

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