IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cgd/wpaper/10.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Solutions when the Solution is the Problem: Arraying the Disarray in Development

Author

Listed:
  • Lant Pritchett

    (Center for Global Development)

  • Michael Woolcock

    (World Bank)

Abstract

The welfare of the poor turns in large measure not only on technocratic development "policies", but the effective delivery of key public services, core elements of which require thousands of face-to-face discretionary transactions ("practices") by service providers. The importance of (often idiosyncratic) "practices" was largely ignored in the 1960s and 70s, however, as planners in developing countries sought to rapidly emulate the service delivery mechanisms of the developed countries, namely standardized (top-down) "programs" managed by a centralized civil service bureaucracy. Although this approach could claim some notable successes in poor countries, it soon became readily apparent that it had failed early and often in virtually all sectors. Three common civil service reforms in the 1980s also yielded disappointing results, so in the 1990s scholars and practitioners began to tout more radical "participatory" (or bottom-up) proposals for improving service delivery. These new proposals have generated a series of unusual alliances and antagonisms in contemporary development debates. We attempt to unravel these debates by distinguishing between the original solution and eight current proposals for improving service delivery, on the basis of a principal-agent model of incentives that explores how these various proposals change flows of resources, information, decision-making, delivery mechanisms, and accountability. We briefly assess the arguments made by proponents and detractors of each approach, and suggest some of the implications of this framework for education, research, and those charged with improving service delivery.

Suggested Citation

  • Lant Pritchett & Michael Woolcock, 2002. "Solutions when the Solution is the Problem: Arraying the Disarray in Development," Working Papers 10, Center for Global Development.
  • Handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:10
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cgdev.org/publication/solutions-when-solution-problem-arraying-disarray-development-working-paper-10
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Soniya Carvalho & Gillian Perkins & Howard White, 2002. "Social funds, sustainability and institutional development impacts: findings from an OED Review," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 611-625.
    2. Kanbur Ravi, 2001. "Economic Policy, Distribution and Poverty: The Nature of Disagreements," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-26, April.
    3. Anthony Bebbington & Scott Guggenheim & Elizabeth Olson & Michael Woolcock, 2004. "Exploring Social Capital Debates at the World Bank," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 33-64.
    4. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    5. Conning, Jonathan & Kevane, Michael, 2002. "Community-Based Targeting Mechanisms for Social Safety Nets: A Critical Review," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 375-394, March.
    6. Bengt Holmström, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 169-182.
    7. Miller,Gary J., 1992. "Managerial Dilemmas," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521372817, February.
    8. Jonathan Isham, 2002. "The Effect of Social Capital on Fertiliser Adoption: Evidence from Rural Tanzania," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 11(1), pages 39-60, March.
    9. Isham, Jonathan & Narayan, Deepa & Pritchett, Lant, 1995. "Does Participation Improve Performance? Establishing Causality with Subjective Data," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 9(2), pages 175-200, May.
    10. Roubini, N., 1989. "Offset And Sterilization Under Fixed Exchange Rates With An Optimization Central Bank," Papers 568, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
    11. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Anja Schöttner & Veikko Thiele, 2010. "Promotion Tournaments and Individual Performance Pay," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 699-731, September.
    2. Patrick W. Schmitz, 2005. "Allocating Control in Agency Problems with Limited Liability and Sequential Hidden Actions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(2), pages 318-336, Summer.
    3. Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "Personnel Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883.
    4. Che, Jiahua & Chung, Kim-Sau & Lu, Yang K., 2017. "Decentralization and political career concerns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 201-210.
    5. Glaeser, Edward L. & Shleifer, Andrei, 2001. "Not-for-profit entrepreneurs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 99-115, July.
    6. Itzhak Ben‐David & Francesco Franzoni & Augustin Landier & Rabih Moussawi, 2013. "Do Hedge Funds Manipulate Stock Prices?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(6), pages 2383-2434, December.
    7. Suárez Serrato, Juan Carlos & Wang, Xiao Yu & Zhang, Shuang, 2019. "The limits of meritocracy: Screening bureaucrats under imperfect verifiability," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 223-241.
    8. repec:bof:bofrdp:urn:nbn:fi:bof-201503041096 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why do Politicians Delegate?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2079, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    10. Leon Yang Chu & David E.M. Sappington, 2009. "Implementing high‐powered contracts to motivate intertemporal effort supply," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(2), pages 296-316, June.
    11. Clò, Stefano & Florio, Massimo & Rentocchini, Francesco, 2020. "Firm ownership, quality of government and innovation: Evidence from patenting in the telecommunication industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(5).
    12. Jokivuolle, Esa & Keppo, Jussi & Yuan, Xuchuan, 2015. "Bonus caps, deferrals and bankers' risk-taking," Research Discussion Papers 5/2015, Bank of Finland.
    13. Alex Edmans & Xavier Gabaix, 2016. "Executive Compensation: A Modern Primer," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1232-1287, December.
    14. Edward P. Lazear & Paul Oyer, 2012. "Personnel Economics," Introductory Chapters, in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.),The Handbook of Organizational Economics, Princeton University Press.
    15. Robert E. Martin, 2011. "The College Cost Disease," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14179.
    16. Laux, Volker, 2012. "Stock option vesting conditions, CEO turnover, and myopic investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(3), pages 513-526.
    17. Jokivuolle, Esa & Keppo, Jussi, 2014. "Bankers' compensation: : Sprint swimming in short bonus pools?," Research Discussion Papers 2/2014, Bank of Finland.
    18. Felix Ebeling & Gerlinde Fellner & Johannes Wahlig, 2012. "Peer Pressure in Multi-Dimensional Work Tasks," Working Paper Series in Economics 57, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
    19. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2003. "Incentives, Choice, and Accountability in the Provision of Public Services," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 235-249, Summer.
    20. Vincenzo Scoppa, 2003. "Contratti incompleti ed enforcement endogeno. Una rassegna della letteratura," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 391-440.
    21. Raul O. Chao & Stylianos Kavadias & Cheryl Gaimon, 2009. "Revenue Driven Resource Allocation: Funding Authority, Incentives, and New Product Development Portfolio Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(9), pages 1556-1569, September.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cgd:wpaper:10. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cgdevus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Publications Manager (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cgdevus.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.