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Working with the Grain and Swimming against the Tide


  • David Booth


Research into the governance of public goods provision in Africa suggests that, on their own, bottom--up pressures from voters and service users are only a weak factor in improving performance. It confirms the importance of working with politicians and service providers as well as clients. However, getting ‘uptake’ of these findings into the practice of development agencies is difficult. In the dissemination of previous studies, certain propositions about the power of information and community monitoring have been heavily over-sold because they satisfy practitioners' hunger for simple, upbeat messages. Incentives, ideologies and vested interests inhibit the adoption of more complex findings.

Suggested Citation

  • David Booth, 2012. "Working with the Grain and Swimming against the Tide," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 163-180, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pubmgr:v:14:y:2012:i:2:p:163-180
    DOI: 10.1080/14719037.2012.657959

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pablo T. Spiller & Ernesto H. Stein & Mariano Tommasi & Carlos Scartascini & Lee J. Alston & Marcus André Melo & Bernardo Mueller & Carlos Pereira & Cristóbal Aninat & John Londregan & Patricio Navia , 2008. "Policymaking in Latin America: How Politics Shapes Policies," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 40178 edited by Ernesto H. Stein & Mariano Tommasi & Pablo T. Spiller & Carlos Scartascini, February.
    2. Owen Barder, 2009. "Beyond Planning: Markets and Networks for Better Aid," Working Papers 185, Center for Global Development.
    3. repec:idb:idbbks:329 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Nancy Birdsall & Ayah Mahgoub & William D. Savedoff, 2010. "Cash on Delivery: A New Approach to Foreign Aid," Working Papers id:3308, eSocialSciences.
    5. Nancy Birdsall & Owen Barder, 2006. "Payments for Progress: A Hands-Off Approach to Foreign Aid," Working Papers 102, Center for Global Development.
    6. repec:idb:brikps:40178 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Paul Hubbard, 2007. "Putting the Power of Transparency in Context: Information’s Role in Reducing Corruption in Uganda’s Education Sector," Working Papers 136, Center for Global Development.
    8. Brian Levy, 2007. "Governance Reform : Bridging Monitoring and Action," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6742.
    9. Lant Pritchett, Michael Woolcock, Matt Andrews, 2010. "Capability Traps? The Mechanisms of Persistent Implementation Failure - Working Paper 234," Working Papers 234, Center for Global Development.
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