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The most recent publications from the department are listed below. Details of older publications are available via the archive pages (left menu) or our staff profile pages.

Is Decentralization Good for Development? ed. Jean-Paul Faguet and Caroline Poschl (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Is Decentralization Good for Development

Faguet, Jean-Paul, and Caroline Poschl (eds),
Oxford University Press (2015).

Is decentralisation good for development? This book explains when the answer is "Yes", and when it is "No". It shows how decentralisation can be designed to drive development forward, and focuses attention on the institutional incentives that can strengthen democracy, boost economies, and improve public sector performance. It also analyses the political motives behind decentralisation, and how these shape the institutions that result. For more information, click here >>

Economic and Political Weekly (2015)

Will the JAM Trinity Dismantle the Public Distribution System?

Masiero, Silvia,
Economic and Political Weekly, 45 (2015), 21-23.

The platform known as the JAM Trinity (an acronym for Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and mobile numbers) may enable a shift from the current Public Distribution System - based on price subsidies - to the direct transfer of benefits. However, JAM technologies will not necessarily lead to the demise of the PDS. State-level experiences reveal that such technologies can improve the system by combatting the leakage problems that affect it.

Governance and Adaptability of the Chinese Communist Party

'NGOs and Service Sub-Contracting: New form of social welfare or social appeasement?' by Jude Howell, in Governance and Adaptation of the Chinese Communist Party.

Yu Keping, Gunter Schubert, Thomas Heberer & Bjorn Alpermann (eds),Beijing Central Compiliation and Translation Press, 2015.

To understand the current world, we need to understand China and the Chinese Communist Party. This book includes in-depth analyses of governance and its development in China. The content covers not only the relationship between the Party and state, state-society relations, and centre-local relations, but also the structure, functions, legitimacy, appropriateness and governance competencies of the Chinese Communist Party, the system of leadership and rule, and political stability, government innovation, social governance, basic governance, public services and urbanisation.

Journal of International Development

Leaving No One Behind?: Informal economies, economic inclusion and Islamic extremism in Nigeria

Meagher, Kate,
Journal of International Development, 27.6, (2015), 835-855.

This article examines how the Post-2015 commitment to economic inclusion affects informal economic actors in developing countries. It highlights the selective dynamics of inclusive market models that generate new processes of exclusion in which the most vulnerable continue to be left behind. The case of Nigeria reveals how inclusive market initiatives reinforce parallel processes of informalization, poverty and Islamic extremism in the north of the country.


Land Regime and the Creation of Ethnicity: Evidence from Tanzania

Boone, Catherine, and Lydia Nyeme,
Comparative Politics, 8.1 (2015), 67-84.

Existing work on land politics in Africa suggests that governments, by creating and upholding neocustomary land tenure regimes, create powerful incentives for individuals to embrace state-recognized ethnic identities. This article strengthens the argument about the institutional determinants of ethnicity’s high political salience through the use of contrasting evidence from Tanzania.

Stability Journal

The Evolution and Reform of Palestianian Security Forces, 1993-2013

Tartir, Alaa,
Stability: International Journal of Security & Development (2015)

This article provides a contextual analysis of the evolution and reform processes of Palestinian security forces over the last two decades. It concludes that the enhanced functionality of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces and the reformed style of governance resulted in the criminalisation of resistance against the Israeli occupation. In this way, the state-building project during the Fayyadism era directly and indirectly sustained the occupation.

Women's Studies International Forum

After Rape: Comparing civilian and combatant perpetuated crime in Northern Uganda

Porter, Holly E.,
Women's Studies International Forum, 51 (2015), 81-90

Open access.

This article explores responses to rape in northern Uganda. A comparison between rapes perpetrated by combatants and civilians, both of which followed abductions that were intended to result in "marriage", illustrates how experiences of rape do not fit neatly into "war" and "ordinary" categories, and rather suggests that a more useful way of conceptualizing women's experiences comes from understanding how particular circumstances of rape shape the social harm she suffers

International Journal on Minority and Group Rights

Social Accountability in War Zones - Confronting Local Realities of Law and Justice

Allen, Tim, and Anna Macdonald (eds),
International Journal on Minority and Group Rights (2015).

Open access.

This special issue showcases some important findings of JSRP research on local justice in four contexts: eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, northern Uganda, South Sudan and Timor-Leste. It includes an overview article and six pieces of fine-grained ethnographic research that help us understand how justice and social order are regulated in conflict-affected places that remain either beyond the reach of institutional governance or at its margins. Cross-cutting themes addressed include gender-based violence, land disputes, vigilantism and rule-of-law reform.

Journal of Modern African Studies

Between Party Capitalism and Market Reforms - understanding sector differences in Rwanda

Behuria, Pritish,
The Journal of Modern African Studies, 53.3 (2015).

The Rwandan government has used different strategies to promote capitalist accumulation. In some sectors, party and military owned enterprises are predominant. In others, the government has chosen to embrace market-led reforms. Ultimately, the vulnerability experienced by ruling elites contributes to the choice of how capital accumulation is promoted in different sectors. Constraints that have accompanied strategies pursued in these sectors (elites, pyrethrum, mining) have forced the government to work ‘reactively’ to achieve strategic targets.

Contentious Politics in the Middle East

'Contentious Economics in Occupied Palestine', by Alaa Tartir, in Contentious Politics in the Middle East: Popular resistance and marginalized activism beyond the Arab uprisings

Gerges, Fawas (ed),
Palgrave Macmillan (2015).

While the Arab people took center stage in the 'Arab Spring' protests, academic studies focus on state structure, regime nature, militaries, and external powers to understand popular uprisings in the Middle East. This book redresses a gap in focus as it analyzes the complexities of popular agency through the framework of contentious politics theory, without neglecting the negotiations between the people and structural factors.

Nature Reviews

Drug patenting in India: Looking back and looking forward

Shadlen, Kenneth C. and Bhaven N. Sampat,
Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 14 (2015).

Open access.

This paper contrasts two different explanations for patterns of patenting in India. The authors undertake a straightforward empirical exercise to draw attention to the importance of the transitional decisions made in the 1990s. They underscore why the effects of these decisions will diminish as the 1990s recede further and further into the past, and discuss how the relationship between these two sets of issues is likely to change over time.

Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding, Routledge

Intervention at Risk: the vicious cycle of distance and danger in Mali and Afghanistan

Andersson, Ruben, and Florian Weigand,
Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding (2015).

Open access.

In crisis-hit countries, intensive risk management increasingly characterizes the presence of international interveners, with measures ranging from fortified compounds to ‘remote programming’. This article investigates the global drive for ‘security’ from an ethnographic perspective, focusing on Afghanistan and Mali. By deploying the concepts of distance and proximity, the article shows how frontline ‘outsourcing’ and bunkering have generated an unequal ‘risk economy’ while distancing interveners from local society in a trend that itself generates novel risks.


The Impact of Cash Transfers on Local Economies

Levy, Stephanie (ed),
Policy in Focus, IPC (2015).

In this special edition, leading authors and practitioners present accessible research on how cash transfers in developing countries can impact the local economy. The aim is to gather and review results and evidence obtained from various methodologies as applied on small-scale programmes to larger-scale policies in Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia. The economic impact of social transfers is analysed here through their effects on investment, productivity, prices, employment and trade.

Stability Journal

Security in Transition: Investigations into the Security Gap

Featuring: Mary Kaldor, Sabine Selchow, Ali Ali, Anouk Rigterink, Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Sam Vincent, Florian Weigand,

Stability (2015).

The articles in this collection theoretically and empirically engage with the idea of the 'security gap', an experimental concept that guides the ERC-funded ‘Security in Transition' research programme at the London School of Economics (LSE). In the broadest sense, 'security gap' refers to the gap between our national and international security capabilities, largely based on conventional military forces, and the reality of the everyday experience of insecurity in different parts of the world. In particular, it captures the particular relationship or the distinct kind of 'mismatch' between objectives and practices of contemporary 'security' measures. The articles reflect the research programme's regional focus on the Balkans, Syria, and Afghanistan.

American Ethnologist

Violence, legitimacy, and prophecy: Nuer struggles with uncertainty in South Sudan

Pendle, Naomi, and Sharon Hutchinson,
American Ethnologist (2015).

Contemporary South Sudanese Nuer prophets play powerful roles in interpreting the moral limits of lethal violence and weighing the legitimacy claims of rival government leaders. Their activities remain largely invisible to external observers investigating the making and unmaking of fragile states. Focusing on South Sudan's tumultuous 2005-14 period, we reveal these hidden dynamics through analysis of the two most-powerful living western Nuer prophets.

Studies In Comparative International Development

Intellectual Property, Access to Medicines, and Health

Shadlen, Ken, and Nitsan Chorev (eds),
Studies in Comparative International Development, 50.2 (2015).

This introduction reviews the literature on intellectual property rights and access to medicines, identifying two distinct generations of research. The first generation analyzes the origins of new intellectual property rules, in particular the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the significance of TRIPS to developing countries. The second generation examines national-level experiences, as countries adjust their laws, and practices to conform to TRIPS. The editors review the contributions to this special edition and contribute to the second generation by considering issues based on the insights provided by these essays.

Public Administration And Development

Dilemmas in Donor Design: Organisational Reform and the Future of Foreign Aid Agencies

Gulrajani, Nilima
Public Administration and Development, 35.2 (2015).

With growing uncertainty over the value and impact of traditional bilateral foreign aid to advance development in poor countries, there is disquiet about the future of national public agencies and ministries with responsibility for managing and delivering international assistance. This article is an attempt to present current controversies about donor governance and offer guidance for resolving current dilemmas by exploring the potential contributions of public administration.

Alex de Waal (ed.), Advocacy In Conflict

Advocacy in Conflict

de Waal, Alex (ed),
Zed Books (2015).

Conflicts in Africa, Asia and Latin America have become a common focus of advocacy by Western celebrities and NGOs. This provocative volume delves into the realities of these efforts, which have often involved compromising on integrity in pursuit of profile and influence.

Examining the methods used by Western advocates, expert authors evaluate the successes and failures of past advocacy campaigns and offer constructive criticism of current efforts.

World Politics Journal

Neopatrimonialism and the Political Economy of Economic Performance in Africa: Critical Reflections

Mkandawire, Thandika,
World Politics (2015).

During the past two decades, neopatrimonialism has become the convenient, all purpose, and ubiquitous moniker for African governance. While it has long been a focus of development studies, in recent times it has assumed politically and economically exigent status. This article examines the empirical basis of predictions and policy prescriptions. It argues that while descriptive of the social practices of the states and individuals that occupy different positions within African societies, the concept of neopatrimonialism has little analytical content and no predictive value with respect to economic policy and performance.

Economy And Society

Neoliberalism as Concept

Venugopal, Rajesh,
Economy and Society, 44.2 (2015).

This paper evaluates the proliferation and expanded usage of the term 'neoliberalism' since the 1980s. It argues that neoliberalism has become a deeply problematic and incoherent term that has multiple and contradictory meanings, and thus has diminished analytical value. The paper also explores the limited usage of the term by non-economists to describe economic phenomena, and how this perpetuates the divide between economics and the rest of the social sciences.

African Affairs, Oxford Journals

The Political Economy of Grand Corruption in Tanzania

Gray, Hazel,
African Affairs (2015).

This article examines the political economy of grand corruption in Tanazia in the era of rapid growth and global integration. The dynamics of the conflicts within the ruling CCM party, and how elite politics interacts with socio-economic transformation, are not well understood. This article describes how the enduring control of the elite, plus a fragmented distribution of power, negate any attempts to stop grand corruption in Tanzania. Read the full article here >>

Third World Quarterly

Democracy, Development, and the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka

Venugopal, Rajesh,
Third World Quarterly, 36.4 (2015).

This paper examines the developmental causes and consequences of the shift from a parliamentary to a semi-presidential system in Sri Lanka in 1978. Drawing on a wide range of sources, it argues that the executive presidency was born out of an elite impulse to create a more stable, centralised political structure to resist the welfarist electoral pressures that had taken hold in the post-independence period, and to pursue a market-driven model of economic growth.

Stability Journal

"And Then He Switched off the Phone": Mobile Phones, Participation and Political Accountability in South Sudan's Western Equatoria State

Schomerus, Mareike, and Anouk Rigterink,
Stability (2015).

Mareike Schomerus and Anouk Rigterink have investigated the impact of mobile phones in situations of political unrest or conflict. They propose a link between access to better communication structures and government accountability. Thus, mobile phones could play a positive role in building more accountable governments. They have written a précis of their research for the International Development blog.


Human Development and Decent Work: Why some Concepts Succeed and Others Fail to Make an Impact

Sehnbruch, Kirsten, Brendan Burchell, Nurjk Agloni, Agnieszka Piasna,
Development and Change, 46.2 (2015).

In this article, Kirsten Sehnbruch and others examine the impact of the International Labour Organization's concept of Decent Work on development thinking. They contend that the United Nation Development Programme's Human Development concept has been one of the most successful development concepts ever to have been launched, while the impact of decent work by comparison has been limited.

Mary Kaldor and Sabine Selchow (eds), Subterranean Politics In Europe, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

Subterranean Politics in Europe

Kaldor, Mary, and Sabine Selchow (eds),
Palgrave Macmillan (2015).

The demonstrations, occupations, and new political initiatives that emerged across Europe in 2011 and 2012 were a rare example of subterranean politics 'bubbling up' to the surface. Assumptions about how politics is carried out are changing, giving rise to serious challenges and obvious discomfort across established institutions.

Based on a multi-disciplinary, collaborative research project carried out across Europe, this volume investigates why this is occurring now, whether the current eruptions are different to previous periods of political upheaval, and what they tell us about the future of the European project.

Find out more about the volume here >> 

Tasha Fairfield - Private Wealth Public Revenue

Private Wealth and Public Revenue in Latin America

Fairfield, Tasha,
Cambridge University Press (2015).

Tasha Fairfield's latest book, Private Wealth and Public Revenue in Latin America: Business Power and Tax Politics, will be published by Cambridge University Press in February 2015. The book develops a theoretical framework that refines and integrates the classic concepts of business' instrumental (political) power and structural (investment) power to explain the scope and fate of tax initiatives targeting economic elites in Latin America after economic liberalization. Read more >>

An article co-authored with Michel Jorratt (Director of the Chilean tax agency) is also forthcoming in The Review of Income and Wealth journal. Their data has been cited by Thomas Piketty on a high-profile trip to Chile following the country's major tax reform last year. You can see more in this Spanish article from the Chilean newspaper, Diario Financiero.

Manisha Priyam, Contested Politics of Educational Reform in India (Oxford, 2015)

Contested Politics of Educational Reform in India

Priyam, Manisha,
Oxford University Press (2015).

Manisha Priyam, who completed her PhD at LSE in 2012, will publish her first monograph through Oxford University Press in 2015. Based on her doctoral thesis, which can be found here, the book is titled Contested Politics of Educational Reform in India: Aligning Opportunities with Interests. You can also see a précis of Manisha's research on 'India at LSE'. Read more >>

China Quarterly Journal

Shall we dance? Welfarist Incorporation and the Politics of State-Labour NGO Relations in China

Howell, Jude,
The China Quarterly, 221 (2015).

State-labour NGO relations in China have been particularly fraught. In 2012 these took an interesting twist, as some local governments made overtures to labour NGOs to co-operate in providing services to migrant workers. This article argues that this shift is part of a broader strategy of 'welfarist incorporation' to redraw the social contract between state and labour. There are two key elements to this: first, a relaxation of the registration regulations for social organisations; second, governmental purchasing of services from social organisations. These overtures have both a state and market logic to maintain social control and stabilise relations of production. Read the full article here >>