Syndicate content

Add new comment

Submitted by Finn Heinrich on
WDR Comments:

Given the very short turn-around time for comments, I will focus only on two issues:

1. Systems rather than linear process: While, as a practitioner-researcher, I am happy to see a section on “what does the WDR mean for action”, I am unsure about the practical usefulness of it in its current form. In my view, the use of a linear model (policy process) somewhat simplifies the complex interrelationships among governance actors on a given policy and doesn’t do justice to the thrust of the WDR which highlights these complexities (see also Root/Jones/Wild 2015). In my view, a “system approach”, paying attention to the overall political economy, would be a more just representation of the main arguments in the WDR. While I am not an expert in this area, I would look into the debate on doing development differently, thinking and acting politically to identify potential visual models to represent this complexity.

2. Spotlight on corruption: The section on explaining why corruption is pervasive could be shortened and more focus could be placed on the section “what can be done”. While I agree with the mantra of a contextual approach, the discussion could probably go further. In particular, the short list of strategies (S.10) could be expanded and deepened. Here are some points to consider: - Indirect approach to fighting corruption: As you write, fighting corruption requires increasing the accountability and contestability of elites. Research shows that, to achieve this, ensuring basic civil rights and freedoms (incl freedom of information and expression) are particularly relevant – (see Mungiu-Pippidi, The Quest for Good Governance; Themudo 2013) - Enforcement & sanctioning – There is a growing realization among anti-corruption researchers about the relevance of “enforcement approaches” to corruption, i.e. ending impunity for corruption by more effective sanctioning (e.g. della Porta/Vanucci 2016, Peiffer/Marquette). Studies show for example its positive signalling effects on the electoral behaviour of citizens (e.g. Ferraz/Finan 2008, Sulitzeanu-Kenan et al 2016). You mention the case of CICIG in Guatemala in passing. In my view, the anti-corruption strategy of “prosecution & sanctioning” and the signalling effects it can have to break the collective action problem of corruption deserves to be mentioned more prominently though. There are also a number of supportive strategies to increase law enforcement on corruption, such as whistleblowing legislation and effective reporting channels.