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Clay Wescott
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Clay Wescott President International Public Management Network
Hi Matt, Can you share how you calculate TiE and TiF? Thanks.
You point out in your book that successful projects focus on problems that local people care deeply about, and are flexible in implementation. In other words, they are what Nassim Taleb calls: "antifragile". In the face of the volatility, disorder and shocks that one finds in the countries where we work, the antifragile gets better. Antifragility allows us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them, and do them well. Just like your brain needs to be challenged, and your body exercised, a good project gets better as it faces stress.
Taking the European history story a bit further, consider the case of Belgium's King Leopold in the late 19th century, as told by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. In Belgium he helped workers, reduced poverty, and supported massive public works. On the other hand, in Belgian Congo, he supported enslavement, and a policy of murder and terror to help him stuff his personal bank account with the proceeds of the colony's riches. Why the split personality? Because the incentives were different. In Belgium, he was a constitutional monarch, and had to work within a democratic system to stay in power. In Congo, there were no constraints, so he went for broke.
I support the need for a theoretical, evidence based story better linking the governance agenda to field-specific outcomes. But we will need to work step by step. The first step is to better develop theories linking specific institutional processes to impacts on the ground. This is where we are with enterprises like PEFA, where indicators have been constructed, inter alia, based on theory. There are outcome indicators measuring two key outcomes of public financial management: fiscal discipline and strategic resource allocation, so the theory can be tested in these respects. The third key outcome, efficient use of resources for service delivery, is more difficult to test, and that is where we should focus our efforts going forward.
Hi Matt, I think that there is a role both for summary indicators, as Bob points out, and for analytics focusing on fields where outcomes matter. Here's a stab at the latter in Bangladesh, looking at rural infrastructure. http://www.worldbank.org.bd/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/SOUTHASIAEXT/BANGLADESHEXTN/0,,print:Y~isCURL:Y~contentMDK:22351464~pagePK:141137~piPK:141127~theSitePK:295760,00.html
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Sep 27, 2011