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ESR 14 Neopatrimonialism, pockets of effectiveness and policy making for the poor

Early Stage Researcher: Petronilla Wandeto

Research Directors: Prof. Dr. Wil Hout (International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Netherlands); Prof. Dr. Christof Hartmann (University Duisburg-Essen, Associated Member of the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB), Germany)

Neopatrimonialism is normally understood as a governance arrangement whereby the instruments of the state are used to further the private or political interests of those in power. The core assumption of neopatrimonial theory is that policies are instruments to reward supporters of the incumbent power-holders. Therefore, their impact on economic growth and job creation is limited or outright negative. The literature on pockets of effectiveness has emphasised how and under which conditions initiatives aimed at providing collective goods may be implemented successfully. This ESR project will identify local initiatives in Sub-Saharan African neopatrimonial environments aimed at pro-poor policy making and job creation, and will investigate whether and to what extent such initiatives have been successful. The project will focus on a limited number of case studies to do more in-depth research on the features that make pockets of effectiveness work for the poor.

Expected Results:
The project will contribute to knowledge about the way in which neopatrimonial rule in developing countries impacts on the poorest parts of the population, and how initiatives to counter this may be successful. The findings of this research project will be relevant for strategies for inclusive development, in particular as related to social protection mechanism and job creation strategies.


The project involves a strong collaboration between the International Institute of Social Studies of EUR and the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy at RUB and therefore includes mandatory research stays of the ESR in Bochum for six months in total.
Further secondments are planned as field research periods (2 months each) in Africa, supervised by the SD Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (Ghana),the University of the Western Cape (South Africa) and Makerere University (Uganda).

Institute of Development Research and Development Policy
Ruhr University Bochum
Room 2.04
Universitaetsstr. 105
D-44789 Bochum

Phone:  +49-(0)234 / 32-22418
or   32-22243
Fax:   +49-(0)234 / 32-14-294