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

Rethinking Governance: Empirical Lessons Challenge Orthodoxy

Listed author(s):
  • Daniel Kaufmann

    (The World Bank)

In this discussion draft, linking research findings with concrete operational challenges, we review key issues in worldwide governance, and present recent empirical evidence. Focusing on defining and unbundling key governance components, such as rule of law, voice and accountability, corruption control, and state capture, we then provide evidence which suggests a sobering picture: on average, there appears to be scant progress worldwide in recent times in improving rule of law and governance, in controlling corruption, and in improving institutional quality -- although there is clearly variance across countries. Further, recent empirical research points to the private sector as influencing public governance, thereby challenging traditional notions of the functioning of politicians, public policy and the public sector, and on the conventional determinants of the investment climate. We posit that the interplay between the elite’s vested interests and the political dynamics within a country, in turn affecting governance and corruption, has often been under-emphasized in program design. These argue for revisiting conventional approaches to promote institutional reform. In particular, we challenge the notion that passing laws by fiat, creating new public institutions, or embarking on anti-corruption 'campaigns', can be very effective, and question the value of traditional public sector management and conventional legal/judiciary reform approaches for many emerging economies. We argue instead that sharper focus on external accountability is required, focusing on: transparency mechanisms and empirically-based monitoring tools (including e*governance), as well as participatory 'voice' and incentive-driven approaches for prevention. These need to feature more prominently in providing checks and balances on traditional public institutions, in empowering non-traditional stakeholders, and in ameliorating state capture and mitigating the very ‘unequal influence' playing field in many countries. In turn, this necessitates probing deeper into the private-public governance nexus, which inter alia leads to focusing on concrete measures to address the challenges of political contestability, political financing reform, and transparency in parliaments, the judiciary and the executive. Recommendations on governance strategies for the next phase are suggested, including on the role of the international community.

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 EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0308007.

in new window

Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 27 Aug 2003
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0308007
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; pages: 47
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
  2. Jean Tirole, 1996. "A Theory of Collective Reputations (with applications to the persistence of corruption and to firm quality)," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 1-22.
  3. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
  4. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Tropics, germs, and crops: how endowments influence economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 3-39, January.
  5. Sen, Amartya, 1983. "Development: Which Way Now?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 742-762, December.
  6. Williamson, John, 2000. "What Should the World Bank Think about the Washington Consensus?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 251-264, August.
  7. Shang-Jin Wei, 2000. "How Taxing is Corruption on International Investors?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-11, February.
  8. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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:wpa:wuwpma:0308007. 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: (EconWPA)

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.