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Developmental regimes and the international system

Briefing/policy paper

Written by David Booth

Briefing/policy paper

There are good reasons for investigating ways the global system helps to shape political and economic incentives in developing countries.


Northern governments have power to change aspects of the international context, whereas they have little real ability to influence the domestic politics of development. A number of recent studies have drawn attention to the many incentives arising in the international system that encourage elite behaviours harmful to national development.


The emphasis of this brief is on regimes that are failing, where international factors amplify incentives to govern badly. Relatively little has been written about how they affect the incentives of regimes that are struggling to sustain processes of national development.


This brief addresses that gap, distinguishing two categories of country: those such as Ethiopia and Rwanda where developmental regimes seem to be emerging and those such as Ghana and Kenya whose regimes show potential but seem regularly to fall at the last hurdle.

David Booth and Frederick Golooba-Mutebi