IDS working papers;306

Where are ‘pockets’ of effective agencies likely in weak governance states and why? : a propositional inventory

Published on 1 January 2008

It is well established that even in countries that have poor governance and weak
public sectors exceptional, well-functioning government and governmentsupported
agencies do exist. What has not been established is how and why
these ‘pockets of productivity’ are able to emerge. Some attribute their existence
to exceptional leadership and good management. Others, while not doubting the
importance of these internal factors, believe that these ‘pockets’ are generated by
their place in the country’s political economy. The literature on this subject is
dominated by case studies and the consequence is that a very large number of
hypotheses have been generated about what the political processes at work might
be. This paper inventories the array of available hypotheses and condenses them
into five sets of mega-hypotheses. It also discusses how social scientists and
practioners ought to think about something whose occurrence is idiosyncratic and
therefore perhaps an exception to the normal causal patterns sketched by
Keywords: pockets of productivity; capacity building; civil service reform;
organisational performance.

Publication details

published by
Leonard, David K.


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