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Collective action, political parties and pro-development public policy

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  • Keefer, Philip

Abstract

Broad consensus exists that the ability of political actors to make credible commitments is key to development. An important and little-explored determinant of the credibility of political commitments is the existence of organizations that facilitate citizen collective action to sanction political actors who renege. This paper focuses on one essential organization, the political party. Three measures of political parties are used to assess cross-country differences in the degree to which politicians facilitate the ability of citizens to act in their collective interest. Each of these measures is associated with superior development outcomes, above and beyond the effects of competitive elections. These results have implications for understanding the extraordinary economic success of some East Asian countries and notable lags among others: East Asian non-democracies exhibit more institutionalized ruling parties than other non-democracies, while East Asian democracies exhibit equally or less institutionalized parties. The evidence suggests that greater research and policy emphasis be placed on the organizational characteristics of countries that allow citizens to hold leaders accountable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5676.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5676

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Keywords: Parliamentary Government; Political Systems and Analysis; Politics and Government; Corporate Law; E-Government;

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  1. Vijayendra Rao & Ana Maria Ibanez, 2005. "The Social Impact of Social Funds in Jamaica: A 'Participatory Econometric' Analysis of Targeting, Collective Action, and Participation in Community-Driven Development," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 788-838.
  2. Araujo, M. Caridad & Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Ozler, Berk, 2006. "Local inequality and project choice : theory and evidence from Ecuador," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3997, The World Bank.
  3. Mansuri, Ghazala & Rao, Vijayendra, 2004. "Community-based (and driven) development : A critical review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3209, The World Bank.
  4. Beck, T.H.L. & Clarke, G. & Groff, A. & Keefer , P. & Walsh, P., 2001. "New tools in comparative political economy: The database of political institutions," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125517, Tilburg University.
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