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Development Policy Review July 2022 round-up

Expert Comment

Written by Annalisa Prizzon

Image credit:Book lot on table Image license:Tom Hermans / Unsplash

Last month we began a digest of what you will find in the latest issue of Development Policy Review (DPR). Feedback was positive so we will keep going!

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Margaret Cornell who passed away in May at the age of 106. Not only was Margaret an Associate Editor of DPR but she kept editing articles well into her 90s. I was already at ODI when Margaret retired as the copy-editor of DPR in 2015: she was about to celebrate her 100th birthday. She has been a great source of inspiration. Read the obituary written by my colleague and former DPR Lead Editor Pilar Domingo here.

In this July 2022 issue, the topics covered in the 10 articles include: the ‘localisation’ of Agenda 2030; an analysis of the impact of multi-stakeholder dialogue on local governance in Niger; a quantitative assessment of the income differences across Indian states; the impact of the formalisation of agricultural rentals in China; review of community-based water management in Solomon Islands; improvement of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health services in Nepal; a comparative analysis of social protection schemes in lower-income and advanced countries; the gig economy in Nigeria; heritage practices and inclusive development; Turkish development cooperation.

More specifically:

  • ‘Localisation’ of Agenda 2030. In her article Gloria Novovic (University of Guelph) investigates the policy shifts triggered by Agenda 2030 in national institutions and contexts in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. She found that Agenda 2030 emerged as a legitimate framework that creates new policy avenues for national agenda-setting and multi-stakeholder coordination. Across all three countries, Agenda 2030 was integrated into national agendas, considered to be central development anchors.

  • Multi-stakeholder dialogue and local governance in Niger. In their article Ariel BenYishay (AidData, and College of William & Mary, Virginia) and co-authors test whether multistakeholder dialogue improves citizen perceptions of government on four dimensions (legitimacy, responsiveness, democracy, and honesty) considering the case of Niger. They found these mechanisms had virtually no positive impact, with no appreciable improvements in local political leadership or citizen engagement with, and confidence in, the state and its services.

  • Income divergence across Indian states. Biswa Swarup Misra (XIM University), Saban Nazlioglu (Pamukkale University) and Ilhan Kucukkaplan (Pamukkale University) examine the sources of income divergence in Indian states by looking at convergence in total factor productivity (TFP), labour, and capital in their article. They found divergence in labour across the states reflects migration primarily as an intra-district phenomenon. The poor investment climate in low-income states acts as a barrier to convergence in capital. TFP and capital stock are found to be correlated, and thereby lower investment in poorer states may be responsible for divergence in TFP across the states.

  • Formalisation of agricultural rentals in China. In their article Tongwei Qiu (South China Agricultural University), Xinjie Shi (Zhejiang University) and Biliang Luo (South China Agricultural University) test whether public intervention increases market-based land rentals and how it affects rentals among acquaintances using data from the China Family Panel Survey in 29 provinces. They found that public intervention in Chinese agricultural land rental has reduced transaction costs for outsiders, has led to more market-based rentals, and has facilitated land transfers—in a setting where some farmers are looking to switch from farming to off-farm work. Policy changes have worked.

  • Community-based water management in Solomon Islands, In the article on community-based water management groups in Solomon Islands, Mark William Love (Griffith University) and his co-authors found that while women are included more, they still often remain excluded from decision-making. Young people are essential to the ongoing operation of water systems yet were rarely formal members of water committees. Intra-village levels of social cohesion were stronger than village-wide levels.

  • Access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health services in Nepal. In this Open Access article Soumya Balasubramanya (International Water Management Institute) and co-authors assess the role of social identity in mediating access to WASH and health services, controlling for economic disadvantages such as household wealth, income sources, and assets in Nepal. Differences in access are mediated in large part by caste, and religious and ethnic identity, especially in rural areas. This would suggest that the supply of such services is lower for historically disadvantaged communities. In addition, they found that communities with the least access are not necessarily the most economically disadvantaged, indicating that relying solely on traditional economic indicators to target programmes and interventions may not be sufficient to improve equity in access to public health services. The results make a case for broadening indicators beyond the economic criteria for improving the targeting of public funds for more inclusive development.

  • Comparative analysis of conditional cash transfers Augusto de Venanzi (Purdue University Fort Wayne) investigates the major differences in the structural design and outcomes of conditional cash transfers in the United States, India and Colombia in his article. Not only do their objectives and cultural underpinnings differ, but also the effectiveness of their targeting and their ability to monitor compliance.

  • Gig economy in Nigeria. In this Open Access article Katarzyna Cieslik (University of Cambridge), Roland Banya (Wits Business School) and Bhaskar Vira (University of Cambridge) analyse the gig economy in sub-Saharan Africa and assess its potential for creating decent work, i.e. platform work sector (e-hailing platforms) in Lagos, Nigeria. They find that e-hailing platforms may offer certain gains - access to insurance, credit, and cash transfers - compared to regular taxiing in the informal sector.

  • Heritage practices and inclusive development. In her Open Access article Mariz Tadros (Institute for Development Studies) considers the relationship between heritage practices and inclusive development. She explores the role of Coptic tattooing in shaping the experiences of Coptic men as migrant workers in Libya and as job-seekers in Egypt, and of Coptic women in Egypt. Mariz found that the presence of a tattoo, an embodied form of religious heritage practice, contributed to exposing Coptic Egyptian migrant men to religious profiling and targeting, to the point of putting their lives in danger.

  • Turkish development cooperation Yunus Turhan (Osmaniye Korkut Ata University) investigates the patterns, characteristics and modality of the model of Turkish development assistance in his article. Two points emerge as specific characteristics of Turkish development cooperation: a multi-track approach and the proximity to recipients.