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Localizing Development: Does Participation Work?

This Policy Research Report (2013) from the World Bank analyzes community development and decentralization projects, showing that such projects often fail to be sensitive to complex contexts – including social, political, historical and geographical realities – and fall short in terms of monitoring and evaluation systems, which hampers learning.

Citing numerous examples, including projects and programs supported by the World Bank, the authors demonstrate in this 300-page book that participatory projects are not a substitute for weak states, but instead require strong central support to be effective. Visit this link to directly download the full report. At http://go.worldbank.org/EIZBM7KPS0, you can download each of the following chapters individually.

Ch 1: Why Does Participation Matter?
Ch 2: A Conceptual Framework for Participatory Development
Ch 3: The Challenge of Inducing Participation
Ch 4: How Important Is Capture?
Ch 5: Does Participation Improve Development Outcomes?
Ch 6: Does Participation Strengthen Civil Society?
Conclusion: How Can Participatory Interventions Be Improved?

Resource Link: http://go.worldbank.org/EIZBM7KPS0

Some Pre-Release Reviews…

“Mansuri and Rao give the best existing treatment of the successes and failures of participatory approaches to development. At the heart of this extraordinary study is the recognition of a reality that will be uncomfortable for many: the key challenge of many participatory development interventions is not finding out how best to respond to grassroots pressures, but how to induce them in the first place. Building on a long tradition in political economy the authors draw attention to the presence of a “civil society failure” in which, contrary to the claims of optimists, representative voices do not emerge organically. Synthesizing and developing a rapidly growing literature, Mansuri and Rao provide an encyclopedic account of the state of knowledge on top-down attempts to generate bottom-up pressures.”

MACARTAN HUMPHREYS, Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

“Localizing Development: Does Participation Work? gives us a much-needed comprehensive account of the available empirical evidence and puts it in a coherent perspective. It takes a balanced and sensible approach on many of the controversial issues and provides a valuable guide for further research and policy initiatives.”

PRANAB BARDHAN, Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

“Finally, a book that takes a hard, empirically grounded, and comprehensive look at donor-led efforts to promote local participatory development. Drawing on an exhaustive selection of cases and aggregate data that range across virtually every sector of development, Mansuri and Rao draw out the complex set of political, social, and institutional variables that shape the prospects for people’s participation in development. For scholars, activists, and policy makers interested in promoting more democratic forms of development, this is required reading.”

PATRICK HELLER, Professor of Sociology and International Studies, Brown University

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