» Archive for: October, 2013

DSC_0031The first EDEM seminar by Vijayendra Rao (World Bank) was well attended both by staff, PhD researchers, MA students and policy makers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Following a lively introduction on the World Bank Policy Research Report, “Localizing Development: Does Participation Work?”, Rao discussed organic versus induced participation and the fallacy of believing that participation can solve the failures of market and state. Participation if not a panacea although it can work. Most important advice is to change the incentives so that reported results are not polished and that learning from mistakes can take place. After the presentation a lively debate took place. Natascha Wagner shared some of her experiences in field work and consultancy. Des Gasper observed that many points in the analysis resembled earlier work in the 1990s and so the question was why this time would be different (if at all). A number of PhD students followed up on one of the basic concepts in Rao’s analysis, that is the triangular relationship between civil society markets and state. Why were markets left out of the final analysis in the World Bank report? Why were the donors not in that scheme. Did they not have similar problems such as incomplete information and coordination failures?


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logo-fepsFEPS in collaboration with the International Institute for Social Studies Erasmus University Rotterdam has set up a research project with the objective to explore progressive monetary, fiscal, financial and industrial policies for Europe.

The project will bring together researchers from various European countries and will have the primary aim to address the following questions:

What was the role of finance and the financial sector in the restructuring of European industries 1970 – 2010? To what extent current and proposed reforms of the financial sector will stabilise banking systems and support industrial policies that would create a sounder economic environment in which banks could operate?


Principal investigators and co-editors:

Dr Susan Newman, Senior Lecturer, International Institute of Social Studies

Dr Giovanni Cozzi, Economic Advisor, Foundation for European Progressive Studies

Prof Jan Toporowski, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Project administrative coordinator: Ischi Graus, Foundation for European Progressive Studies

Read further information here

currunBased on his fieldwork with Somali pirates, ransom negotiators, and naval officers in Kenya, as well as statistical analysis he conducted with Arjun Bedi, Professor of Development Economics at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) Erasmus University Rotterdam,  he want to dispel some of the conventional wisdom about what is happening along the Horn of Africa.

Read the full article here.

Currun Singh,  former ISS MA student, is the Middle East and North Africa adviser for the World Organization Against Torture.

First EDEM Seminar

Category: research

23 Oct 2013

Vijayendra_Rao_01In this Seminar, Dr. Vijayendra Rao discusses the World Bank Policy Research Report, “Localizing Development: Does Participation Work?” a subject of intense debate and advocacy, and billions of dollars in development aid. Dr. Rao will briefly review the history of participatory development and argue that its two modalities, community-based development and local decentralization, should be treated under the broader unifying umbrella of local development. He will compare organic participation (endogenous efforts by civic activists to bring about change) and induced participation (large-scale efforts to engineer participation at the local level via projects) and focus on the challenges of inducing participation.

Dr. Rao will discuss “civil society failure” and explain its interaction with government and market failures. He argues that participatory development, which is often viewed as a mechanism for bypassing market and government failures by ‘harnessing’ civic capacity, ought to be seen instead as a mechanism that, if done right, could help to repair important civil society failures. His review of the evidence looks at a variety of issues: the impact of participatory projects on inclusion, civic capacity, and social cohesion; on key development outcomes, such as income, poverty, and inequality; on public service delivery; and on the quality of local public goods. He draws on the evidence to suggest several recommendations for policy, emphasizing the key role of learning-by-doing and in creating effective monitoring and evaluation systems that allow for learning.

About Vijayendra Rao Vijayendra Rao

Dr. Rao is a lead economist in the Development Research Group of the World Bank. He integrates his training in economics with theories and methods from anthropology, sociology, and political science to study the social, cultural, and political context of extreme poverty in developing countries. Dr. Rao haspublished in leading journals in economics and development studies on subjects that include the rise in dowries in India, the social and economic context of domestic violence, village democracy, and how to integrate economic and social theory to develop more effective public policy. He has co-edited Culture and Public Action; History, Historians and Development Policy; and co-authored the 2006 World Development Report on equity and development. Most recently, with Ghazala Mansuri, he co-authored the World Bank’s Policy Research Report Localizing Development: Does Participation Work?


When: 30 October 2013

Time: 13:00 – 14:00

Venue: Room 3.01

Kortenaerkade 12, The Hague.


Further info: Peter van Bergeijk


Dij;itaThe plethora of country classifications that emerged since the star of the 1950s is a remarkable phenomena in the arena of development policymaking. In our sample of country classifications, consisting of classifications for 111 developing countries, the average number of classifications per country is 3.1 at the start of 2013. The developing country differentiation landscape is of staggering complexity. For instance, of the 49 countries categorised as Least Developed Countries (LDC), 17 are also Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDC), 30 are Low Income Countries (LIC), 18 are Lower-middle Income Countries (LMIC), 39 are Low Human Development (LHD), 6 are Middle Human Development (MHD), 31 are Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), and 24 are Fragile States (FS). Through literature review, document analysis and a case study that compares two of these categories, the article seeks to understand (i) why this hybrid complex structure developed, and (ii) what are the consequences of the “spaghetti bowl” of country classifications; considered to be detrimental to development and global governance. It investigates the main similarities and differences between selected categories of developing countries (created within the UN, including the Bretton Woods institutions), applying as an analytical lens the political economy of country differentiation to explore their rationale and purpose. Rather than creating predictability, rationality and transparency about rules and principles, and protecting states against the vagaries of large countries, the proliferation of classifications injects the global governance system with discretion, enabling the exercise of power over smaller and weaker states. Finally, in order to move this debate from observation and diagnosis to providing some direction to policymakers, policy changes that can contribute to a less problematic framework of developing country differentiation are proposed. Finally, in order to move this debate from observation and diagnosis to providing some direction to policymakers, policy changes that can contribute to a less problematic framework of developing country differentiation are proposed.

Download the article here

The Development Dialogue conference at the International Institute of Social Studies  is a yearly ISS PhD researchers initiative for providing a space for young scholars and PhD students to exchange recent and on-going research in the broad field of development studies which is taking place from October 10-11, 2013.


International Institute of Social Studies

Economics of Development (ECD) is a Major in the MA in Development Studies. This blog provides a platform for discussion for researchers, students and others interested in this field of studies. The blog is administered by the ECD teaching team.