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States and Political Systems

Understand and Provide Recommendations

Pro-Poor Political Institutions

Research assesses the relationship between regime type and its effect on poverty and in-equality. It examines related political economy reasons: why do governments not deliver the public goods that the poor require to lift them­selves out of poverty?

Specific Aims

  • Determine strategies for supporting the building of pro-poor political institutions
  • Provide new insights on the quality of elections
  • Understand the determinants of political accountability and state legitimacy

Improving Programmes

Researchers draw on the experiences of emer­ging countries to understand the issues faced by the least developed ones. What are the lessons learnt from current anti-poverty programs? How can policy makers contribute to make improvements happen? Why do national policies and private interventions succeed in some places and fail elsewhere?

Voting in Ghana 

With sometimes different approaches and data, political scientists and economists all show the importance of well-functioning economic and political institutions in explaining development. Almost all developing countries now hold elections, despite sometimes ill-functioning political institutions. WP8 is based on case studies, comparative analyses and cross-country analyses. The case studies will cover most continents and draw on the experiences of the richer developing countries to understand the issues faced by the poorest countries.

The specific objective of this research is to:

  • Understand the link between poverty and political institutions;
  • Provide a new detailed measure of the quality of elections;
  • Understand the determinants of political accountability and State legitimacy;
  • Analyze the role and emergence of local governance in developing countries;
  • Determine strategies for supporting the building of pro-poor political institutions (in accordance with Policy recommendations).

States and political systems research directly supplements Education and social protection research by researching the reasons why national policies and private interventions fail in some places and succeed elsewhere. Conclusions are an important input for policy options (Policy recommendations).

What is our work for this specific research?

  • The determinants of political accountability and State legitimacy in developing countries
  • Local political institutions in developing countries: the role of new players
  • The challenges faced by young democracies: clientelism, patronage, vote buying
  • People, ‘policy space’ and pro-poor policies 
  • Institutions and pro-poor policies

Research examples

Brazil: Challenges of young democracies
What is the effect of the shift from a traditional voting system (paper ballot) to electronic voting on the reduction of electoral corruption and patronage? (Research: UFRJ)

Senegal: People, ›policy space‹ and pro-poor policies
How can the law protect vulnerable people from harmful practices such as child marriage, caste discri­mination, female genital mutilation and the exclusion of women from land inheritance? (Research: UNamur)

Ghana: Measuring the quality of governance
Does governance quality correlate with the satisfactory formulation of pro-poor governance? Are the relevant institutions effective in delivery of services to the poor and the vulnerable in society? (Research: CDD)