Poverty reduction in developing countries requires not just wealth creation through economic growth but also the introduction and implementation of policies that ensure the poor benefit from growth. In countries where growth is very slow or not occurring at all, poverty reduction requires policies that explicitly redistribute resources to the poor. To successfully reduce poverty in developing countries, development agencies thus need to understand how to influence policymaking processes in a pro-poor direction.
Anuradha Joshi and Andrew Rosser worked with researchers from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on a DFID-funded research project that addressed this issue. The project focused on the dynamics of policymaking in four Asian states – Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and India. In each case, the researchers examined four key questions:
- What factors shape policymaking in these countries?
- To what extent do the poor influence policy decisions?
- Under what conditions do governments adopt and implement pro-poor policies?
- And what can donors do to promote pro-poor policy change?
To answer these questions, they examined instances of policy change in forestry, land and primary health. The main outputs were papers on policymaking processes in each of the focus countries and a synthesis paper that draws together general lessons.