Thus far in this blog I have spoken about governance gaps in areas like public financial management and anti corruption. The observation in both has been that countries are adopting reforms in form but these are not yielding improved functionality because of limited practice. Building on this line, I like the work of Terence Halliday on insolvency reforms in development. http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/47/38184739.pdf He starts the paper by saying that, "It is now a truism to affirm that In all lawmaking a gap opens Up between law on the books and law in action." He goes on to discuss the problems of basing reform on legal adjustment only, noting that law alone does not make an institution. Further, he questions the value of basing reform on global norms instead of local norms. He argues that this can create a major mismatch in institutional dimensions-because the norms underpinning new laws simply are not supported by informal norms implicit in political and social systems of reforming countries. This, he argues, leads to problems with implementation. The paper is really worth a read. It provides another example of reforms that make government look better but don't necessarily make government function better. It also raises some ideas about what a reform agenda focused on making effective governments or states might look like-more aware of extant institutions, for instance, less prescriptive of international norms as answers, more focused on fitting solutions to context.