A long-ignored crisis in development – the collapse in morale among public officials. New UN paper.

Duncan Green - June 16, 2015

…als, written by Max Everest Phillips and Ryan Orange for the thoroughly reputable UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence. Some excerpts: ‘An unacknowledged crisis lurks at the heart of government. It arises from the mismatch that now exists between universal aspirations for excellence in Public Service policies and delivery of services, and the reality in many countries of an increasingly alienated public sector workforce. An effective…

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Paul Collier on post conflict reconstruction, independent service authorities, how to manage natural resources and the hidden logic of the G20 London Summit

admin - June 29, 2009

…rease prices in the construction sector (skills, land, cement, finance etc) and concentrate on freeing them up. Independent Service Authorities (ISAs) for Essential Services: State-building in post independence Africa was based on a 1950s European model of a single all-providing state in education, health etc. It didn’t work. The answer is to unbundle that state model into a) setting policy (stays with government) b) allocating money to providers…

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Legitimacy: the dark matter of international development

Duncan Green - September 27, 2017

…ractice, the emphasis on ‘restoring confidence’ often translates into programmes that aim to increase access to services. The suggestion is that improved access to services will strengthen the state/society contract and, state legitimacy will follow. That is why millions of aid dollars have been spent on improving access to services in fragile states: In 2012, 45.4% of total ODA to 50 fragile states was spent on ‘economic foundations and services…

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Africa’s tax systems: progress, but what is the next generation of reforms?

admin - November 20, 2013
Alistair Darling

…e competent SARAs now exist, the same amount of effort and resources is required to build the capacity of local authorities to levy certain taxes and provide services. But there is no unanimity or shared conviction regarding this imperative at present. The skills needed at national and local levels are quite different. Central revenue authorities require the knowledge and expertise to engage effectively with large multinational firms. To tax a te…

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Africa’s tax systems: progress, but what is the next generation of reforms?

admin - November 20, 2013

…e competent SARAs now exist, the same amount of effort and resources is required to build the capacity of local authorities to levy certain taxes and provide services. But there is no unanimity or shared conviction regarding this imperative at present. The skills needed at national and local levels are quite different. Central revenue authorities require the knowledge and expertise to engage effectively with large multinational firms. To tax a te…

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Is Decentralization Good for Development?

Duncan Green - March 30, 2016

…ng significant resources and authority to them.  It makes the provision of local, regional, and national public services the joint responsibility of two or more levels of government. It transforms a simple, linear system of bureaucratic fiat (think command and control), run from the capital, into a much more complex system of coordination, cost sharing,  and overlapping responsibilities amongst multiple tiers of autonomous government with indepen…

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Advocacy v Service Delivery in Russia: FP2P flashback

admin - August 17, 2011

…ng because of the hassle, and may now be persuaded to claim benefits. It’s hard to compare the two approaches – service delivery is pleasingly concrete, and so it is easier to assess its impact. Advocacy work often suffers from issues of attribution (did the Russian government change its law because of the campaign, or would it have done so anyway?) and impact (how do you measure the impact on people’s wellbeing of not having to waste six months…

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Working in Fragile States, as seen from Australia and New Zealand

admin - September 19, 2013

…NU, so it has some good ideas to test. But there is also a hankering among donors to play a more direct role in service delivery, born of frustration and impatience. This attempt to find a short cut to development appears to have no overall idea of how it is building (or I would argue weakening) the institutions needed to deliver services in the long term (see this discussion on Collier’s Independent Service Authorities). What else is worth tryin…

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Are we heading for another debt crisis? If so, what should we be doing?

Duncan Green - December 1, 2016

…t crisis for the poorest countries, albeit with a few differences compared to last time (the 90s and 00s). Debt service as a percentage of government spending in low and low-middle income countries is up to an average of 27% of total government revenue, which is a pretty severe burden on cash-strapped countries that really need to spend on schools, hospitals, infrastructure etc. Triggers for the current squeeze include some similar factors to the…

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What have we learned on getting public services to poor people? What’s next?

Duncan Green - March 24, 2014

…ects on the past decade and implications for the future Why do so many countries still fail to deliver adequate services to their citizens? And why does this problem persist even in countries with rapid economic growth and relatively robust institutions or policies? This was the problem addressed by the World Bank’s ground-breaking 2004 World Development Report (WDR) Making Services Work for Poor People. At its core was the recognition that polit…

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