Political Science | Empirical Theory & Methodology
Y673 | 10675 | Sawyer/McGinnis
This Class Meets at 513 N Park Professors Amos Sawyer and
Topic: Implementation Challenges of Governance Reform in Developing
In Spring 2008, Political Science Y673 focuses on the challenges of
implementing governance reform in developing countries. In recent
years countries in every region of the world have been planning,
undertaking, or have recently completed governance reform programs.
Designed largely in the aftermath of internal wars or as a
consequence of pressures from the “international community,” these
reform programs not only establish or strengthen systems of
democratic governance at national levels, but also reconstitute
multi-level governance arrangements related to the ways in which
public goods and services are selected, financed and produced to
meet the needs of populations.
The challenges of implementing governance reform have not claimed as
much scholarly attention as have the puzzles of conceptualizing and
designing reform programs. The bulk of the scholarly literature on
governance reform focuses on such general issues as macro-economic
institutions, the security sector, decentralization, etc. Too often
practical problems of implementation are dismissed as being of
concern only to practitioners. This course explores the design-
implementation nexus by identifying and analyzing the challenges in
translating design ideas into workable governance institutions and
organizations that can achieve and sustain desired outcomes.
Most course sessions will focus on specific reform areas such as
security, judicial, land and mineral resources, among others.
Readings will include scholarly works (Samaritan's Dilemma, Beyond
Plunder, The Anti-Politics Machine, and Peace Operations Seen from
Below) as well as unpublished reports and policy evaluations.
Dilemmas faced by reformers in Liberia will receive particular
attention, given the close involvement of Prof. Sawyer in that
ongoing process. More generally, the course draws upon the
collective experiences of faculty, students, and visiting scholars
associated with the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis
with the implementation of governance reform programs and the
assessments of international development assistance programs in
several countries in Africa, Asia and Central America.
Students will be expected to complete a seminar paper tightly
focused on practical challenges related to implementing specific
reform proposals in a country of particular relevance to their own
future research. These papers will be presented and critiqued in a
mini-conference held at the conclusion of the spring semester.
The spring Y673 seminar is part of a two-semester series on the
study of institutional analysis, but the fall seminar is not a
prerequisite for taking the spring seminar. The first few first
weeks of this seminar will focus on summarizing the foundational
principles of the institutional analysis framework largely for the
benefit of those who have not taken the fall seminar.