IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Interim Institutions and the Development Process: Opening Spaces for Reform in Cambodia and Indonesia

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel Adler
  • Caroline Sage
  • Michael Woolcock

While there is broad agreement among scholars and practitioners on the importance of ‘good governance’, ‘the rule of law’ and ‘effective institutions’ for ensuring positive development outcomes, we have a much poorer understanding of how such goals should be realised. Whether informed by modernisation theory, Marxist perspectives or neoclassical assumptions, the prevailing imperatives guiding the work of development actors—from international agencies to national line ministries and local non-government organisations—tend to produce reforms that encourage (and in some cases actively require) rapid, linear, technically driven transitions to pre-determined end-state institutional forms deemed to be global ‘best practice’. Drawing on two very different cases from Indonesia and Cambodia, we outline an alternative, more process-oriented approach that focuses on building ‘interim institutions’—that is, formal or informal institutions conceived of in terms of their potential to engage with and incrementally transform the political economies within which they exist. Successful interim institutional approaches, we suggest, are hybrid in their nature; they are based on local knowledge but promote principles of rule-based, transparent and accountable decision making towards an end-state which emerges through a process of equitable political contestation (‘good struggles’), and is thus largely unknowable ex ante. A key goal of development assistance strategies should be to support the emergence of interim institutions which can both facilitate and be transformed by such contests.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by BWPI, The University of Manchester in its series Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series with number 8609.

in new window

Date of creation: 2009
Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:8609
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Humanities Bridgeford Street, Oxford Road,Manchester, M13 9PL

Phone: +44(0)7717 881567
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:8609. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Rowena Harding)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.