Building State Capability for Implementation
Why Building State Capability for Implementation is the 21st Century Development Challenge (and What To Do About It)
This lecture, based on a paper (from the Journal of Development Studies, Jan 2013) which won the 2014 ‘best article' prize from the American Sociological Association's section on international development, explores the apparent paradox of why most human development indicators are improving while measures of institutional quality are flat or declining.
It examines why implementing policies (as opposed to just designing them) has been such a persistent challenge in developing countries, why the failure to build state capability is so consequential, and how the actions of donor agencies are so often part of the problem. Beyond a critique, it will also outline a pragmatic alternative strategy for building state capability for implementation.
Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist in the World Bank's Development Research Group, and (part-time) Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government).