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Alan Hudson @alanhudson1

Thanks Matt. Very helpful, and I share your liking of Global Integrity and the Bertelsmann Transformation indices. But, I'd really appreciate a short explanation as to how you see the continued drive for governance indicators as fitting with:

a) the recognition that "good governance" means different things in different places


b) the related realisation - made most clearly by you - that what matters is not the form of governance by the sectoral outcomes that it produces.

I am stumbling towards a decent answer. Can you help? Or can other readers?

matt andrews

Hi Alan: Good questions.

First, I think that there are dimensions of good governance--a few high level dimensions--that may have generic import. My point in '4' is that these are the non-negotiables. The things we can say with certainty are important to making an organization or government work. I will leave it to future posts to identify these, but we might think of an example being 'having a budget' or 'reporting on funds received from citizens'. If you don't do these things at all, there is little scope for governing effectively. Then, I think there are the negotiable dimensions and the cutting edge dimensions. These will vary with context and are at the heart of 'good governance means different things in different countries'. This could get into certain types of budgets, or reporting mechanisms, etc.

Second, what matters is surely what the government or organization does. This is why I believe we need to do '3' above--theorize the indicators. This involves explaining why we believe a dimension matters in facilitating better performance. Dimensions should be included because we see them making a difference in performance, not just because they look good. Include a process requirement because we really think it helps ensure health services are better provided, for instance. These will be identified in the stage 2 assessments I recommend in the 2010 article on u5mr as governance indicators.

The focus on results is also why I think we need to do '5' above--measure de jure and de facto aspects of indicator dimensions, and emphasize the gap. We must make sure that we have an argument (with evidence to back it, hopefully) about how compliance leads to better performance, and we need to make sure compliance is complete (function and not just form). It seems to me that this gap is the key part of the difference between developed and developing country governance regimes. We must capture it, and keep building the evidence about how specific practices, effectively implemented, can improve results.

Hope useful!

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