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Palgrave Macmillan

Political Economy and the Aid Industry in Asia

ISBN 9781137303608
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific

The international aid industry's experimentation with political economy analysis is on the road to nowhere, so long as major assumptions remain unchallenged; namely, that development is a public good and reform comes from experts and enlightened reformers working in partnership on new institutions, whilst development failures are the result of information failures or perverse incentives, as collective action problems.

This book provocatively argues that donor efforts to think and work more politically have not adequately addressed, to date, the structural dimensions of power and interests and the political economy of the aid industry itself. The authors address these 'elephants in the room' via a lively critique of technical and agency-focused political economy approaches and the sustained application of an original typology for evaluating the commitments of reform actors and strength of their alliances with donors.

Highlighting the need for donors to engage more tactically and opportunistically to achieve incremental improvements in the lives of the poor, this book will be a valuable resource for development practitioners and scholars of international political economy and international development.

Jane Hutchison is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Studies and a Fellow of the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University, Australia. Her research interests include the politics of labour and urban land reform in the Philippines, and she was an Oxfam Australia Board member from 2004 to 2014.

Wil Hout is Professor of Governance and International Political Economy at the International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands. His research interests relate to international relations, the politics of development, international development assistance and issues of ('good') governance. He is co-editor of European Political Science Review.

Caroline Hughes is Professor of Conflict Resolution and Peace at Bradford University, UK. She was Director of the Asia Research Centre, Murdoch University, and has held other posts in the United Kingdom, Australia and Cambodia. She researches the politics of international post-conflict intervention and of aid and development, particularly in Cambodia and Timor-Leste.

Richard Robison is Emeritus Professor in the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University, Australia. His previous positions include Director of the Asia Research Centre, and Professor of Political Economy at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. His areas of research include the political economy of oligarchy and the state in developing countries and the ideology and practice of neo-liberalism.

1. Introduction
2. Realities of Political Economy: The Elephant in the Room
3. Development Agencies and the Political Economy Turn
4. Development as Collective Action Problems
5. Understanding the Development Problem
6. Analysing Reform and Reformers
7. Working Politically: Understanding Alliances
8. Conclusion: The Road to Nowhere?


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