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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.
Social conflict in Peru has increased dramatically since 2004. The economic origins of these disputes, which result mostly from the growth of mining operations, have received considerable scholarly attention. The emergence of collective action directed at the performance of regional and local government, however, has received little notice. This essay examines Peru's regional and local governance conflicts on the basis of hundreds of reported cases. It investigates the nature of these episodes and the strategies adopted by community organizations to get their complaints addressed. It finds that the political opportunity of the posttransition period, dissatisfaction with government performance, and new participatory rights have helped to give rise to such collective action. Community protagonists choose between institutional and noninstitutional strategies but often combine them to help ensure success. Maintaining legitimacy proves essential to both sides. This article argues that these events represent both constraints and favorable developments for subnational democracy in Peru.