Anand, Great comment (and great title). To make cross-country comparisons, we have to rely on relatively crude data on parties. This is changing: Herbert Kitschelt from Duke University spent a morning at the Bank two weeks ago presenting a new, comprehensive database of essentially every political party in about 85 countries (the World Bank Research Support Budget was an important source of financing for the effort). Looking at a specific country, though, we can have access to much more information (e.g., from Afrobarometer surveys) that allows us to establish two conditions: Are politicians from a party bound together in a common enterprise? The answer is more likely to be yes if voters care about party affiliation and not just about the party leader; probably no if candidate-financed gift-giving is the secret to political success and party switching is rampant. Is that common enterprise the pursuit of programmatic goals? The answer is more likely to be yes if candidates are selected on the basis of adherence to the goals and if voters who share those goals are the ones supporting the party. Otherwise, the common enterprise is more likely to be the feeding of the party machine. If facts on the ground tell us that the answer to both questions is no, broad public sector reform (actually, any broad reform to improve public good provision) is least likely to be sustainable. More focused reforms (on sector and region) are more likely to succeed. If both are true, we can easily discard the possibility of isomorphic mimicry and feel more confident in pursuing public sector reform. The links with foreign aid need to be better understood. Lots of research suggests that in some settings, foreign aid is viewed as a rent to be extracted. High-rent environments (whether aid or natural resources) are not great for building organizations meant to pursue collective interests. On the other hand, foreign aid has also contributed to organization-building, whether through bilateral assistance to parties, or general donor assistance to large NGOs. We don't know, however, whether such efforts have transformed these organizations into vehicles for pursuing broad citizen interests. We need to find out.