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May 2012

Framing Governance on “People, Spaces, Deliberation”

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

So, what’s governance anyway? No, don’t ask me for a definition. I can, however, tell you how we frame it. People, Spaces, Deliberation has been around for about four years now, and we hope we have made our modest contribution to the discussion of governance, especially in a development context.

To give an idea about how we frame governance, I took a look at the tags we use most frequently for our posts. Each post in which the tag occurred was counted. And here it is: Governance, on this blog, is about, first and foremost, public opinion and accountability. It’s also about the media as institutions of accountability and media development, about transparency, about fighting corruption, about social media – and about communication.  

In Africa, Seizing Carbon Finance Opportunities

Harikumar Gadde's picture

I’m amazed at what Africa is doing to address climate change, a crisis in the making that could have devastating consequences on the continent, its agriculture, and millions of people who had little role in creating it.

The latest updates came during the 4th Africa Carbon Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. What I heard there was quite a change from the Forum four years earlier and not what I had expected.

Distorted Prices in Commodity Markets

Otaviano Canuto's picture

The volatility in commodity prices continues. Sure, they have come down in the last few days on Eurozone crisis fears but, all in all, they remain volatile, and in the case of food, very high. One of the reasons for this is that world commodity markets–particularly those for agricultural commodities—have become highly distorted.

“So what?” you may ask. Well, distorted price levels and excess price volatility are detrimental to producers and consumers alike.

When to use insiders or outsiders as survey interviewers

Jed Friedman's picture

Researchers have long recognized the importance of choosing interviewer characteristics while designing their fieldwork – for example female interviewers are often utilized to explore topics related to domestic violence and respondents of both sexes are more likely to disclose sexual abuse to female interviewers than to male ones.  Another key consideration is the degree of familiarity between interviewer and respondent, but here the decision appears to be obvious.

What Can South Asia Do to Make the Big Leap?

Ejaz Ghani's picture

Last week, I discussed the optimistic and pessimistic views of South Asia's development potential. As I highlighted in my book, Reshaping Tomorrow, South Asia is among the fastest growing regions in the world, but it is also home to the largest concentration of people living in conditions of debilitating poverty, human misery, gender disparities, and conflict.

I also ask if South Asia is Ready for the Big Leap. The optimistic view is that India will achieve double-digit growth rates benefiting the rest of South Asia. The pessimistic view is that growth will be derailed by structural and transformational challenges. In this entry, I will make some suggestions on how South Asia could realize the optimistic view.

What can be done?

Caste Disadvantage, or Gender and Urban bias? Educational Mobility in Post-reform India

Forhad Shilpi's picture

India experienced sustained economic growth for more than two decades following the economic liberalization in 1991. While economic growth reduced poverty significantly, it was also associated with an increase in inequality. Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen (2011) argue that Indian economic reform has been “unprecedented success” in terms of economic growth, but an “extraordinary failure” when it comes to improvements in the living standard of general population and social indicators. The contrasting news reports on billion dollar house (Mukesh Ambani’s house at Mumbai) and farmers’ suicides have brought the issue of income inequality to the spotlight for many people.  Does the increase in inequality in post-reform India reflect deep-seated inequality of opportunity or efficient incentive structure in a market oriented economy?

Learning from or repeating the past? Industrial Zones in India (Pt 1)

To sustain its impressive growth rates, the Government of India is looking for new sources of growth. Last year, the Cabinet approved an ambitious new National Manufacturing Policy (NMP). The policy, which is awaiting ratification, aims to create 100 million jobs and to increase the share of manufacturing in GDP from 16 percent to 25 percent within a decade. At the center of the policy are National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NIMZs), large industrial townships that offer special incentives and infrastructure to attract businesses.

This is not the first time the Indian government has turned to zones to deliver on its economic goals. India’s Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act of 2005 was launched amid hopes that it would help boost exports, FDI, and job creation. However, the SEZ Act met with mixed results and widespread controversy.

Today, we are kicking off a 2-part blog series that explores the possibilities—and potential pitfalls—of industrial zones. In this installment, we answer: Why did the SEZ Act fall short? On Thursday, we will assess the prospects of  the proposed NIMZs.

Reviewing the Results

When the SEZ Act of 2005 was announced, there was an outpouring of interest from developers. Yet, as seen in the chart, by 2010 only twenty percent of all approved SEZs had become operational. Targets for jobs were not met.  What happened?  No single factor explains it in full, but several, from a lack of connecting infrastructure to the political economy of land, came together to prevent the Act’s original goals being met.

  

The Currency of Diasporas

Uwimana Basaninyenzi's picture

The financial contributions that diasporas make to their countries of origin have received an enormous amount of attention. It’s not surprising with figures like $372 billion, the estimated amount of remittance flows that developing countries received in 2011. Indeed, this is a significant contribution that warrants our attention, but there is another type of currency that diasporas provide that has received much less consideration—the political capital attained through citizen activism.

In countries facing governance challenges, diaspora communities, particularly those living in more democratic countries, have a number of advantages over local activists in their home countries. For one, their economic contributions often provide them with influence over important social and political issues.  Their organizational power is another important contribution, one that Steven Vertovec writes about in his piece entitled, The Political Importance of Diasporas. He notes that diaspora based associations can lobby host countries to change polices in favor of a homeland and influence homelands in support of or in opposition to governments.

Calling all skeptics

Markus Goldstein's picture

Have you seen an impact evaluation result that gives you pause? Well, now there’s an institutional way to check on results of already published evaluations.    3ie recently announced a program for replication. They are going to focus on internal validity – replicating the results with the existing data and/or using different data from the same population to check results (in some cases).      


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