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The organizational basis of government in developing countries: management and policy implementation in Ghana’s public sector

Williams, Martin (2016) The organizational basis of government in developing countries: management and policy implementation in Ghana’s public sector. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Organizations are the literal bricks-and-mortar of government, the means by which political choices are turned into delivered goods and services, yet they are largely absent from prominent theories of state capacity, institutions, and political economy in developing countries. In three papers, I show that this omission is theoretically and empirically unjustified: not only is there a great deal of heterogeneity among organizations within the same government, but the complexities of organizations can interact with institutional and political economy factors in a manner that alters these literatures’ conclusions about public service delivery, bureaucracy, and reform. The first paper, “From Institutions to Organizations in the Study of State Capacity”, draws on interviews with senior managers from 40 organizations in Ghana’s central government to document the vast range of variation in management quality among them, explore its roots in theories of relational contracts, and connect theories of organizational performance to the institution-centric literature on state capacity in developing countries. The second paper, “Policy Implementation, Distributive Politics, and Fiscal Institutions”, analyzes an original database of 14,000 small infrastructure projects in Ghana’s local governments, and shows that the fiscal institutions used to fund projects are associated with large differences in completion rates, even after controlling for project characteristics and district, community, and contractor fixed effects. I develop a theory of policy implementation as intertemporal bargaining among political actors who face commitment problems with respect to project distribution, and show that fiscal institutions can mitigate the negative effects of these distributive pressures. The final paper, “One Size Does Not Fit All”, shows that the quality of budget execution and compliance with budget processes varies dramatically across ministries in Ghana’s government, and that the drivers of budget performance are heterogeneous and often idiosyncratic.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Martin J. Williams
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Dunleavy, Patrick and Wehner, Joachim

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