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Public Sector Governance and Development Performance: An International Comparison with Special Focus on Vietnam

  • Peter Sturm

    (Governance consultant, 14 rue Corot, 78370 Plaisir, France)

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    Development theory has increasingly focused on public sector governance and pertinent institutions as key determinants of successful development. This paper discusses the concepts of public sector governance and alternative development indicators. Both theory and empirical evidence investigated suggest a significant interrelationship between a country’s quality of public sector governance, the institutions shaping it, and development performance, however measured. Quantitative measures of these concepts are then used to depict Vietnam’s comparative performance in the pertinent areas. The main result of this comparison is that Vietnam’s development performance – whether measured by the level of GDP pc or the Human Development Index – ranks in the second lowest quintile among the 178 national economies for which comparable date exist. This weak performance is then related to the country’s public sector governance ranking, which is similarly unimpressive. It is argued that Vietnam’s lagging performance regarding relevant aspects of governance holds back the country’s broader development. The paper then discusses opportunities for and obstacles to improving public sector governance: Readily available information on governance principles and corresponding institutional structures prevailing in the “best practice” countries (e.g. Norway, New Zealand, Denmark etc.), and these countries’ willingness to share their expertise, offer the opportunity for other countries to improve their own performance by adapting top performers’ practices and experience to their own local conditions. The key to such knowledge transfer is the political will to implement it, and the major obstacles to doing so are the resistance from entrenched interest groups, combined with the inertia of some pertinent “cultural” characteristics.

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    Paper provided by Development and Policies Research Center (DEPOCEN), Vietnam in its series Working Papers with number 02.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:dpc:wpaper:0213
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