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The PRSP Initiative: Multilateral Policy Change and the Relative Role of Research

Research reports

This paper traces the emergence of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) initiative and the various factors that contributed to its adoption in September 1999, including the role and relative influence of research in this process. A PRSP is a document that sets out an analysis of poverty in a country and defines the national strategy on how the government is going to reduce it. Preparation of a PRSP is an entry criterion for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) programme, and is also an eligibility criterion for concessional lending from the World Bank (IDA) and IMF (PRGF programme).

This Working Paper forms part of ODI’s Research and Policy in Development (RAPID) programme, which seeks to learn more about linkages between development research, policy and practice. The main questions addressed are:

    * How did the idea of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) come to be adopted, and

    * What was the role of research in this process?

The relative contribution of research is considered using a three-dimensional framework:

    * Policy context: politics and institutions

    * Evidence: credibility and communication

    * Links: influence and legitimacy

Karin Christiansen with Ingie Hovland