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12 - From Decentralization Research to Policy and Programs

A Practical Postscript

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 February 2019

Jonathan A. Rodden
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
Erik Wibbels
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
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Summary

The concluding chapter connects the preceding research findings with the practical realm of donor program design and implementation. To assess potential uptake of findings, we turn to analyses of policymakers’ and practitioners’ utilization of research and evaluation. To investigate where and how the decentralization findings might be applied, we pull from literature that addresses donor operating procedures, and explores process approaches to policy reform design and implementation that emphasize flexibility, adaptation, and learning. Our selective review of the research utilization literature highlights four key points that affect research findings’ uptake: prior researcher-agency collaborations; early identification of topics and potential users; effective communication; and scale and scope of suggested changes. In terms of specific application of findings related to decentralization, we suggest their relevance at discrete decision points in the programming cycle, such as at the design stage or annual implementation reviews. We point to promises and challenges of increased collaboration on evaluating program impact, which is often complicated by the dynamic nature of decentralization. We conclude that academically-informed guidance needs to accommodate the bureaucratic realities of donor programming and country politics. Researchers can usefully support donor engagement with evidence and recommendations, while recognizing that their studies will rarely be determinant.
Type
Chapter
Information
Decentralized Governance and Accountability
Academic Research and the Future of Donor Programming
, pp. 273 - 286
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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