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Working Paper 80 - Making Public Sector Management Work for Africa: Back to the Drawing - Board

This paper critically examines key concepts that have been dominant in the internationaldevelopment community in the past twenty years. Starting with an analysis of the state in Africa,it shows how the international donors have ignored many of the underlying conditions that makeit weak and soft. It continues to argue that while the New Institutional Economics (NIE) is a stepforward in the economics discipline by transcending the limiting conditions inherent in the neoclassicalmodel of the “perfect” market, it encourages a definition of “market failures” that canonly be perceived by economists who have the necessary overview and comprehensiveinformation at their disposal. The paper continues with an examination of the operationalexperience associated with NIE and New Public Management (NPM), looking specifically at theissues of revenue collection and administration, decentralization, and civil service reform. Thefinal part of the paper traces the evolution of donor assistance since the 1970s and argues that byworking “up-streams” in the policy process rather than “down-stream” with project and programimplementation, donors have become more generalists, but also further removed from the socialrealities of Africa. The paper makes the point that donors and governments in Africa must jointlymake significant reforms that are based on their own terms rather than on those set by externalagencies.

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Paper provided by African Development Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 215.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:adb:adbwps:215
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  1. Christopher S. Adam & David L. Bevan, 2010. "Fiscal Policy Design in Low-Income Countries," Working Papers id:3162, eSocialSciences.
  2. Sulemane, Jose A. & Kayizzi-Mugerwa, Steve, 2001. "The Mozambican Civil Service Incentives, Reforms and Performance," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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