IDS staff or research student

Tom Harrison - Research Fellow


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Tom Harrison is a political scientist whose work focuses on the governance and politics of development. His research interests include the authority and capacity of the state, bureaucracy, development planning, the role of the centre of government, the politics of climate change mitigation, and NGO-state relations. His main regional interests are in India and South Africa.

Tom completed his DPhil in Development Studies from the University of Oxford on the relationship between NGOs, the state and political parties in the Indian state of West Bengal. Since then he has taught the politics of development at the University of York and conducted research for the Developmental Leadership Program on the Local Politics of Climate Change in China and India.

He also has extensive experience of government policy processes having worked for South Africa’s National Planning Commission from 2011 to 2015, initially as an ODI Fellow. In South Africa he contributed to developing the country’s first National Development Plan, and led work on public sector governance with a particular focus on development planning, coordination and the role of the centre of government.

IDS publications on international development research

NGOs and Personal Politics: the Relationship Between NGOs and Political Leaders in West Bengal, India

The article explores the relationship between NGOs and political leaders through a study of local NGOs in the Indian state of West Bengal. It uses a combination of a survey and case studies, as well as interviews with political leaders and government officials, to question some dominant assumptions about how the state uses NGOs and how government funding for NGOs impacts on the relationship between NGOs and the state. More details