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Published on January 2, 2008

Author: Berenger

Source: authorstream.com

What explains the (lack of) success of economic reform programmes? An agenda for research. :  What explains the (lack of) success of economic reform programmes? An agenda for research. David Dunham Institute of Social Studies The Hague Economic Reforms and Outcomes:  Economic Reforms and Outcomes Almost all developing and ‘transitional’ economies have implemented reform programmes in recent years But the results have been mixed: some successes but many others have experienced political chaos, economic recession, social, ethnic or religious conflict, and widespread corruption Why is the picture so mixed?:  Why is the picture so mixed? Because of the dynamic interaction of economic reforms with socio-political/institutional factors Successful economic reforms cannot be implemented solely on basis of economic criteria The interaction of socio-political processes and economic changes is complex Governments and politicians are not just passive instruments for implementing technocratic reforms Reforms have had sustained success where governments and politicians have been: :  Reforms have had sustained success where governments and politicians have been: convinced of the need for reforms and implemented them pragmatically, maintaining political support for reform and socio-political stability Recognise that fundamental economic reforms have profound distributional impacts and then draw the political implications from it:  Recognise that fundamental economic reforms have profound distributional impacts and then draw the political implications from it Reforms: generate changes in actual and (sometimes more importantly) in perceived inequalities re-value human and social capital and change the underlying determinants of wealth positions of households and social groups and, at least in short run, significant sections suffer losses (absolutely or relatively) The liberalisation process also creates huge new opportunities for rent extraction:  The liberalisation process also creates huge new opportunities for rent extraction Politicians and bureaucrats control the liberalisation process: what sectors, when, how privatisation of state assets FDI Rent extraction opportunities emerge on a scale probably never before available Returns to political power increase and provide new and expanded sources of patronage:  Returns to political power increase and provide new and expanded sources of patronage Incentives increase to hold on to power, crush dissent and opposition, impose authoritarian rule Social tensions are aggravated and conflicts erupt along pre-existing ‘fault lines’ (class, ethnic, religious, regional or urban-rural) Spiralling process of political conflict, authoritarian responses and deepening social divisions Research objectives:  Research objectives To understand better how a reform process is embedded in and shaped by the institutional context, political culture and underlying social relations in particular countries To be content with broad guidelines -- concrete reform programmes need be tailored to ‘fit’ specific settings To view implementation of a reform programme as a (sometimes drawn out) process with its own dynamic To be more open to alternatives and to things that work Research programme:  Research programme small multi-disciplinary teams of 2-3 members with at least one economist and one non-economist a multi-country comparative study with a common analytical-conceptual framework – detailed case studies within a broad shared methodological approach

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