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  • Author: Francesco Burchi, Christoph Strupat, Armin von Schiller
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Social cohesion is an important precondition for peaceful and economically successful societies. The question of how societies hold together and which policies enhance social cohesion has become a relevant topic on both national and international agendas. This Briefing Paper stresses the contribution of revenue collection and social policies, and in particular the interlinkages between the two. It is evident that revenue mobilisation and social policies are intrinsically intertwined. It is impossible to think carefully about either independently of the other. In particular, revenue is needed to finance more ambitious social policies and allow countries to reach goals, such as those included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Similarly, better social policies can increase the acceptance of higher taxes and fees. Furthermore, and often underestimated, a better understanding of the interlinkages between revenue generation and social policies can provide a significant contribution to strengthening social cohesion – in particular, concerning state–citizen relationships. In order to shed light on these interlinkages, it is useful to have a closer look at the concept of the “fiscal contract”, which is based on the core idea that governments exchange public services for revenue. Fiscal contracts can be characterised along two dimensions: (i) level of endorsement, that is, the number of actors and groups that at least accept, and ideally proactively support, the fiscal contract, and (ii) level of involvement, that is, the share of the population that is involved as taxpayer, as beneficiary of social policies or both. In many developing countries, either because of incapacity or biased state action towards elite groups, the level of involvement is rather low. Given the common perception that policies are unjust and inefficient, in many developing countries the level of endorsement is also low. It is precisely in these contexts that interventions on either side of the public budget are crucial and can have a significant societal effect beyond the fiscal realm. We argue that development programmes need to be especially aware of the potential impacts (negative and positive) that work on revenue collection and social policies can have on the fiscal contract and beyond, and we call on donors and policy-makers alike to recognise these areas as relevant for social cohesion. We specifically identify three key mechanisms connecting social policies and revenue collection through which policy-makers could strengthen the fiscal contract and, thereby, enhance social cohesion: 1. Increasing the effectiveness and/or coverage of public social policies. These interventions could improve the perceptions that people – and not only the direct beneficiaries – have of the state, raising their willingness to pay taxes and, with that, improving revenues. 2. Broadening the tax base. This is likely to generate new revenue that can finance new policies, but more importantly it will increase the level of involvement, which will have other effects, such as increasing government responsiveness and accountability in the use of public resources. 3. Enhancing transparency. This can stimulate public debate and affect people’s perceptions of the fiscal system. In order to obtain this result, government campaigns aimed at diffusing information about the main features of policies realised are particularly useful, as are interventions to improve the monitoring and evaluation system.
  • Topic: Development, Finance, Economic growth, Tax Systems, Transparency, Social Cohesion
  • Political Geography: Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Lennart C. Kaplan, Sascha Kuhn, Jana Kuhnt
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Successful programmes and policies require supportive behaviour from their targeted populations. Understanding what drives human reactions is crucial for the design and implementation of development programmes. Research has shown that people are not rational agents and that providing them with financial or material incentives is often not enough to foster long-term behavioural change. For this reason, the consideration of behavioural aspects that influence an individual’s actions, including the local context, has moved into the focus of development programmes. Disregarding these factors endangers the success of programmes. The World Bank brought this point forward forcefully with its 2015 World Development Report, “Mind, Society and Behavior”, herewith supporting the focus on behavioural insights within development policies. While agencies may intuitively consider behavioural aspects during programme design and implementation, a systematic approach would improve programme effectiveness at a relatively small financial cost. For this reason, we present a framework – the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) (Ajzen, 1991) – that aids practitioners and researchers alike in considering important determinants of human behaviour during the design and implementation of development programmes The TPB suggests considering important determinants of human behaviour, such as the individual’s attitude towards the intervention (influenced by previous knowledge, information or learning); subjective norms (influenced by important people, such as family members or superiors); and the individual’s sense of behavioural control (influenced by a subjective assessment of barriers and enablers). The theory should be used early on in the programme design to perform a structured assessment of behavioural aspects in the appropriate context. Components of the TPB can often be addressed through cost-effective, easy changes to existing programmes. Simple guiding questions (see Box 1) can help integrate the theory into the programme design. An iterative and inclusive process, particularly in exchange with the targeted population and other stakeholders, increases success.
  • Topic: Development, Norms, Behavior
  • Political Geography: Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Charlotte Fiedler, Karina Mross
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Societies that have experienced violent conflict face considerable challenges in building sustainable peace. One crucial question they need to address is how to deal with their violent past and atrocities that were committed – for example, whether perpetrators should be held accountable by judicial means, or whether the focus should be laid on truth telling and the compensation of victims. Transitional justice (TJ) offers a range of instruments that aim to help societies come to terms with their history of violent conflict. Systematic, empirical analyses of TJ instruments have been emerging over the last years. This Briefing Paper summarises the policy-relevant insights they provide regarding the main TJ instruments: trials; truth commissions; reparations for victims; and amnesties.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Transitional Justice, Political Science, Peace, Justice
  • Political Geography: Colombia, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Jakob Schwab, Jan Ohnesorge
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Blockchain technology (BT), famous due to its use in digital currencies, also offers new opportunities in other fields, one of which is trade integration. Developing countries especially could benefit from greater trade integration with BT, as the technology can, for example, remedy deficiencies with regard to financial system access, intellectual property protection and tax administration. BT allows virtually tamper-proof storage of transactions and other data on decentralised computer networks. In fact, it is possible to store not only data, but also entire programmes this securely: Smart contracts enable the automation of private transactions and administrative processes. This article summarises the latest research on the use of BT in trade integration by examining in more detail five key and, in some cases, linked fields of application. The first is trade finance, where BT could deliver direct cost savings for exporters and importers by removing the need for credit-lending intermediaries. Second, tamper-proof storage of information on the origin and composition of goods could enhance supply chain documentation. This makes it possible to more reliably verify compliance with sustainability standards, particularly for globally produced goods. However, for the information in blockchains to be truthful, it must be entered correctly (it is then tamperproof), a process that therefore requires monitoring. Third, BT could deliver improvements in the field of trade facilitation by making it easier for border authorities to access information on goods and thus easing reporting requirements for exporting firms. By reducing dependence on central database operators, BT could help bring about a breakthrough with existing digital technology in the area of trade. Fourth, facilitating access to information on goods could also simplify customs and taxation procedures and make them less vulnerable to corruption and fraud. This goes hand in hand with cost reductions for exporters and better mobilisation of domestic resources for public budgets. Fifth, in the field of digital trade, BT also facilitates management of digital file rights in environments where, for institutional reasons, there is little intellectual property protection. This could help to promote digital industries in developing countries. However, when it comes to using BT in border and customs systems in particular, it is essential to involve the relevant authorities at an early stage. At the same time, it is necessary to promote uniform technical standards for supply chain documentation in order to safeguard interoperability between the different systems across actors and national borders and thus fully leverage the cost advantages. If these guidelines are taken into account, then BT could effectively support sustainable trade integration of developing countries.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Currency, Trade, Integration, Blockchain
  • Political Geography: Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Karina Mross
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Evidence exists that democracies are particularly stable, yet also that processes of democratisation are highly susceptible to conflict, especially if democratisation occurs in the aftermath of violent conflict. New research from the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) indicates that external democracy support can help mitigate the destabilising effects of post-conflict democratisation. Since the 1990s, democracy support has been integral to most peacebuilding efforts. Supporting free and fair elections or a vibrant media seems well-suited for fostering peace: Democratic institutions can actively deal with societal conflicts, in sharp contrast to authoritarian regimes, which often rely on repression. However, altering power relations through more political competition can also trigger power struggles, which newly emerging democratic institutions may have difficulty containing. Therefore, questions arise regarding countries that have embarked on a process of democratisation after civil war: Can democracy support help to mitigate destabilising effects, or does it reinforce them? If it can foster peace, how should it be designed in order to avoid renewed violence? The wisdom or folly of supporting democracy to build peace after civil war has caused controversy, yet has rarely been tested empirically. This briefing paper summarises findings from DIE research that addresses this gap.
  • Topic: Civil War, Democratization, Conflict, Institutions, Peace
  • Political Geography: Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Paul Marschall , Stephan Klingebiel
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Populism is a style of politics that attacks the existing normative consensus within society, making systematic use of marginalisation and bogeyman tactics. Typical marginalisation strategies target minorities within the population and adopt an anti-scientific world view. Restrictions on civil society are one of the consequences of government action dominated by populism. When it comes to mobilising voters, populists draw upon selected topics which differ according to political camp (left-wing versus right-wing populism) and national context. Nonetheless, it is possible to identify certain patterns of populist expression, such as the practice of contrasting the “people” and their supposed will with an allegedly out-of-touch political “elite”. The values of the population are largely set within the national context, while representatives of the elite are often portrayed as primarily interested in interactions outside of the nation state and thus perceived and characterised as proponents of globalisation. Populist trends can be seen in Western nations, former Eastern Bloc states and countries in the global South. Populist movements pose considerable threats to multilateral efforts aimed at tackling transnational political challenges.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Politics, Populism, Multilateralism
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Global Focus, Global South
  • Author: Mario Negre, Jose Cuesta, Ana Revenga, Prescott J. Morley
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Conventional economic wisdom has long maintained that there is a necessary trade-off between pursuit of the efficiency of a system and any attempts to improve equity between participants within that system. Economist Robert Lucas demonstrated the implications of this common economic axiom when he wrote: “Of the tendencies that are harmful to sound economics, the most seductive, and in my opinion the most poisonous, is to focus on questions of distribution [...] the potential for improving the lives of poor people by finding different ways of distributing current production is nothing compared to the apparently limitless potential of increasing production.” (Lucas, 2004) Indeed, many economists have suggested that too little inequality or too generous a distribution of benefits may undermine the individual’s incentive to work hard and take risks. Setting aside the harsh rhetoric used by Lucas, the practical and ethical acceptability of such a trade-off is debatable. Moreover, evidence from recent decades suggests that the trade-off itself is, in many cases, entirely avoidable. A large body of research has shown that improved competition and economic efficiency are indeed compatible with government efforts to address inequality and reduce poverty, as assessed in a World Bank report (World Bank, 2016). Contrary to another common belief about economic interventions, this research indicates that such policy interventions can be tailored to succeed in all countries and at all times; even low- and middle-income countries in times of economic crisis can successfully pursue policies to improve economic distribution, with negligible negative impacts on efficiency and, in many cases, even positive ones. Some examples of such pro-equity and pro-efficiency measures include those promoting early childhood development, universal health care, quality education, conditional cash transfers, rural infra-structure investment, and well-designed tax policy. Overall, four critical policy points stand out: 1. A trade-off is not inevitable. Policymakers do not need to give up on reducing inequality for the sake of growth. A good choice of policies can achieve both. 2. In the last two decades, research has generated substantive evidence about which policies work to foster growth and reduce inequalities. 3. Policies can redress the inequalities children are born into while fostering growth. But the wrong sets of policies can magnify inequalities early in life and thereafter. 4. All countries can, under most circumstances, implement policies that are both pro-equity and pro-efficiency.
  • Topic: Governance, Inequality, Economic growth, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Charlotte Fiedler
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: In every fourth post-conflict country a new constitution is written, but the effect of these post-conflict constitution-making processes on peace remains understudied. Constitution-making has become a corner stone of peacebuilding efforts in post-conflict societies and is widely supported by international actors. It is often seen as a main component of a political transition necessary in states that have experienced internal warfare. This is because a successful constitution-making process establishes a new and potentially permanent governance framework that regulates access to power. However, systematic analyses of the effect of post-conflict constitution-making on peace have been lacking. This Briefing Paper presents new, empirical evidence showing that post-conflict constitution-making can contribute to peace. Countries emerging from conflict often adopt new constitutions in order to signal a clear break with the past regime and to reform the institutions that are often seen as at least partially responsible for conflict having erupted in the first place. Post-conflict constitution-making has taken place in highly diverse settings – ranging from the aftermath of civil war, as in Nepal or South Africa, to interethnic clashes or electoral violence, as in Kyrgyzstan or Kenya. And in the current peace talks around Syria the question of writing a new constitution also plays a prominent role. Since academic evidence is lacking as to whether constitution-making can contribute to peace after civil war, it remains an open question whether efforts in this regard should be pursued by international actors. This Briefing Paper presents evidence that writing a new constitution positively influences post-conflict countries’ prospects for peace (for the full analysis see Fiedler, 2019). It summarises innovative, statistical research on post-conflict constitution-making, conducted by the DIE project “Supporting Sustainable Peace”. Based on an analysis of 236 post-conflict episodes between 1946 and 2010, two main results with clear policy implications emerge: Writing a new constitution reduces the risk of conflict recurrence. The analysis shows a statistically significant and robust association between writing a new constitution after experiencing violent conflict and sustaining peace. International efforts to support post-conflict constitution-making are hence well-founded. The theoretical argument behind the relationship suggests that it is important that constitution-making processes enable an extensive inter-elite dialogue that helps build trust in the post-conflict period. Post-conflict constitution-making processes that take longer are more beneficial for peace. This is likely because the trust-building effect of constitution-making only occurs when enough time enables bargaining and the development of a broad compromise. International actors frequently pressure post-conflict countries to go through these processes very quickly, in only a matter of months. The results question this approach, as very short constitution-making processes do not positively affect peace.
  • Topic: Development, Politics, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Roy van der Weide, Ambar Narayan, Mario Negre
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: A country where an individual’s chances of success depend little on the socio-economic success of his or her parents is said to be a country with high relative intergenerational mobility. A government’s motivation for seeking to improve mobility is arguably two-fold. There is a fairness argument and an economic efficiency argument. When mobility is low, it means that individuals are not operating on a level playing field. The odds of someone born to parents from the bottom of their generation will be stacked against him or her. This is not only unfair but also leads to a waste of human capital, as talented individuals may not be given the opportunity to reach their full potential. Reducing this inefficiency will raise the stock of human capital and thereby stimulate economic growth. Since the waste of human capital tends to be concentrated toward the bottom of the distribution, the growth brought about by mobility-promoting policy interventions tends to be of an inclusive nature, in line with the spirit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 on reducing inequality. For large parts of the world’s population, individual education is still too closely tied to the education of one’s parents, and there is a clear divide between the high-income and developing world. The patterns observed globally are also observed within Europe. Intergenerational mobility (or equality of opportunity) is visibly lower in the new member states (i.e. Eastern Europe), where national incomes are lower. Raising investment in the human capital of poor children towards levels that are more comparable to the investment received by children from richer families will curb the importance of parental background in determining an individual’s human capital. Countries at any stage of development can raise intergenerational mobility by investing more to equalise opportunities. The evidence strongly suggests that public interventions are more likely to increase mobility when: a) public investments are sufficiently large, b) are targeted to benefit disadvantaged families/ neighbourhoods, c) focus on early childhood, and d) when there is a low degree of political power captured by the rich.
  • Topic: Education, Children, Inequality, Family, Economic Mobility
  • Political Geography: Europe, Global Focus, European Union
  • Author: Eva Dick, Markus Rudolf
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in December 2018, the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) and its Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) point to a paradigm shift in international refugee policy. The social and economic independence of refugees in destination countries and communities in particular is to be increased. In return, the international community commits to engage in burden- and responsibility-sharing by supporting hosting countries and communities with knowledge and resources. With this new deal, the UN announced its intention to break existing vicious cycles of displacement and dependence on aid in order to ensure that refugees and host communities benefit equally from the measures. The East African nation of Kenya is one of 15 pilot countries working to promote the implementation of the CRRF. The Kenyan Government pledged at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016 to integrate refugees more effectively and involve them in national and local development planning processes. It underscored its commitments in March 2017 in the context of the regional Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan (NAP). While the national operational plan announced at the time has not yet been adopted, individual commitments are already being implemented. These also include the (further) development of the integrated refugee settlement of Kalobeyei in Turkana Country in the far north-west of the country, a project supported by the international community as part of the CRRF, but originally initiated at local level. The example of Kenya and Turkana County shows that the (capacity for) implementation of global agreements depends not least on the specific interests of sub-national actors. Requirements of the CRRF, such as better infrastructure for refugees and host communities, are compatible with the local government’s economic development priorities. The capacity of Kenyan counties to take action has also been improved as a result of the decentralisation process in 2010. To a certain degree at least, counties can challenge the national security-related narratives which restrict the opportunities of refugees to participate in society to this day. In neighbouring Tanzania, implementation of the CRRF failed due in no small part to the fact that barely any consideration was given to the concerns of local actors in the nation’s centralised political system. Based on our analysis, we make the following recommendations for German development policy: Local state and non-governmental actors should be involved in drafting global norms and dialogue between municipalities should be promoted, Partner governments should be made aware of the benefits of integrating refugees and political and administrative implementation should be supported, Local stakeholders should be actively involved and supported in the planning and prioritisation of refugee integration strategies.
  • Topic: United Nations, Refugees, International Community, Norms
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Global Focus