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Research Programme Summary

Capacity Building Programme
Tax and Governance
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The full Upside-down synthesis

Prescriptive donor aid practices have long caused consternation amongst development researchers and practitioners. The Centre's newly published research titled An Upside-down View of Governance argues that donors cannot make significant progress in improving development outcomes and aid effectiveness without changing their mental models of how development happens and calls for a radical re-think. Read more...

An Upside-down View of Governance presents the main findings of the Centre’s five-year research programme led by researchers at the Institute of Development Studies and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) between 2005-2010.

An Upside-down View of Governance has been reviewed in the Kathmandu Post. Click to access. For more USDG news see below.

Societies, States and Citizens - A Policymakers Guide to the Research is a new DRC publication which draws on our 'Upside-down' synthesis and draws out what we believe are the key policy messages in a summarised form. It is a useful concise guide for those working in policy formulation.

The Centre for the Future State undertakes research into the processes involved in building more effective, accountable and responsive governance in poor countries. It provides a framework for long-term cooperation between social science researchers from different parts of the world. Its aim is to undertake high quality research that is relevant to public policy, and to ensure that it comes to the notice of policymakers. See the current research strategy

We are based within the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and funded by a grant from the UK 's Department for International Development. Read About the Centre for the Future State.

The Centre for the Future State is now in its second phase (2005-10). For a synthesis of the Phase 1 findings click here.

Having an impact: Our work on Taxation and Governance

Researchers associated with the DRC have been working on taxation and governance since the centre was established in 2000. Our work is now receiving a great deal of attention. Find out why...


Programme 1 - Public Action, Private Investment


Programme 2 - Collective Action, Social Accountability

Researchers on the BI(M) Modes of Service Delivery project gathered in Brighton for the final planning meeting of the project's final stage.

Members from Brazilian partners CEBRAP attended the 13th International Congress of the Basic Income Earth Network (30 Jun - 2 July 2010), FEA-USP, Sao Paulo. They presented a research paper from the BI(M) Modes of Service Delivery project which was written by Peter P. Houtzager, IDS.

Programme 3 - State Capacity, Financing the State and Informal Local Government Institutions

Researchers on the ILGI project gathered in Brighton for the final planning meeting of the project's final stage.

Andres Mejia Acosta attended the 5th Latin American Congress of Political Science where he presented ‘The Political management of natural resource rents in the Andes’. (July2010)

Other News

Upside-down news: UNDP regional center in Bangkok - UNDP have picked up on 'Upside-down Governance', and especially the work on informal local governance institutions. A recommendation by one of their most senior governance advisors to take the “Upside Down” view into account in the formulation of UNDP’s upcoming strategy on  Public Administration and Local Governance support.

The Oslo Governance Centre has asked Sue Unsworth to present UDG findings at a conference they are organising with Norad in September.

‘An Upside Down View of Governance’ sparked great interest and provoked a lot of discussion among ‘governance advisors’ in Zambia. "It exactly reflects the dilemmas we are in when we approach active development work with our African partners.", said Dr. Marion Popp advisor on the German Development Cooperation's 'Good Governance Programme'. A working group meeting for GTZ governance advisors from various African countries will take place from the 20th to 22nd October in Lusaka to combine the internal meeting with a public lecture on a governance topic, which is open to civil society, government and donor agencies in Zambia. The event will be attended by Sue Unsworth.

"An upside down view of governance is a GREAT document and I totally agree with all the arguments and the new way of thinking governnce and development." says Federico Vazquez, a researcher for a UNDP's Regional Project of Political Analysis and Governance in Latin America (PAPEP) based in Mexico City.

A further mention of ‘An Upside Down View of Governance’ has been made by the 2020 Public Service Trust Blog here and on Chris Blattman's blog here

Sunningdale Conference (Jun2010): DFID has organised a conference at the National School of Governance, Sunningdale, to bring together four large governance oriented research programmes. Click for more...

Palace Street: In cooperation with the Citizenship DRC and Crisis States DRC the Centre for the Future State held a two day event for DFID staff at Palace Street. The purpose of the event was to bring researchers and policymakers closer together to discuss finding in depth.

Click here to see the archive of old programmes' news. For news of other activities and events not necessarily specifically related to our research programmes please visit the activities section of the website.

Links to external Governance related resources
This page provides links to external organisations actively involved in the themes of governance and development. More>>



Latest News

Programmes News

New Publications
Abla Abdel-Latif and Hubert Schmitz (September 2010),`The Politics of Investment and Growth in Egypt: Experimenting with a New Approach'. Working Paper 546, Economic Research Forum, Cairo, 2010

Wilson Prichard (May 2010), Taxation and State Building: Towards a Governance Focused Tax Reform Agenda, IDS Working Paper 341, Brighton: UK

Kripa AnanthPur and Mick Moore (May 2010), 'Ambiguous Institutions: Traditional Governance and Local Democracy in Rural South India', Journal of Development Studies.

Sue Unsworth (ed) April 2010, 'An Upside-down View of Governance', IDS, Brighton: UK

Houtzager, Peter P. and Gurza Lavalle, Adrian (March 2010), 'Participatory Governance and the Challenge of Assumed Representation in Brazil' Studies in Comparative International Development, Volume 45, Number 1

Dorothy McCormick and Hubert Schmitz
(June 2009) 'Donor Proliferation and Co-ordination:Experiences of Kenya and Indonesia', Journal of Asian and African Studies (forthcoming)

Will Prichard (2009) 'The Politics of Taxation and Implications for Accountability in Ghana 1981-2008', IDS Working Paper 330, Brighton: UK

Dan Harris, Mick Moore, and Hubert Schmitz (2009) Country Classifications for a Changing World, IDS Working Paper 326, Brighton: IDS

Natraj, V.K., Majumdar, M., Ananth Pur, K., Prasad, G.S. and Banerjee, I. (2009) Devolution: An Evolutionary Perspective, in G.K. Kadekodi and B. Vishvananthan (eds) Agricultural Development, Rural Institutions and Economic Policy. A volume published in honour of Professor A. Vaidyananthan, OUP

Rosser, Andrew (2009) ‘Rebuilding Governance in Failed States: An Illustration from Timor Leste' in Wil Hout and Richard Robison (eds) Development and the Politics of Governance , London: Routledge

Ananthpur, Kripa and Anirudh, Krishna (2009) 'Formal Perceptions of Informal Justice' in Amita Singh and Nasir Aslam Zahid (eds) Strengthening Governance through Access to Justice, New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt Ltd: 52-64

View the latest 2-page summaries of our published work




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