Workshop: IGC State Capabilities Group 2011

This was a follow-up to the IGC State Building workshop in September 2010. It was highlighted that a post-conflict recovery in economic growth is vital, both for the creation of jobs, and to sustain inclusive politics. In particular, focusing on the construction sector both re-builds infrastructure and domestic firm capabilities, and creates jobs; delivering public services shows that the government is making an effort; a relentless pursuit of transparency squeezes out the crooks, replacing them with politicians who can use the ability to provide public services and sustain private economic expansion to justify their holding office, and so move from the politics of plunder to the politics of hope.

After studying the four issues of jobs, investment, basic service delivery and political economy separately, the most important challenge in the fragile states and growth agenda was to understand the interdependence of these themes. How does job creation change state incentives? How does better service provision feedback onto investment? This joined approach is the aim of the medium term research agenda.

The purpose of the workshop was both to advance analytic understanding and to apply whatever emerges to three fragile state contexts – Pakistan, Liberia, and Sierra Leone – to get a better sense of whether it has practical application. The workshop was expected to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners in general. Under the four thematic areas, the following emerged:

Jobs: Rural roads and low-income urban housing. Roads link farms to cities and help to lower the price of food. Housing is a labour-intensive type of structure and so generates jobs, is central to well-being, and gives the urban population a material interest in continued peace.

Investment: An agenda for studying investment in fragile states was outlined, which highlights what is known and what needs to be known to assess policy options and their consequences for improving investment incentives.

Basic Service Delivery: This workshop has provided inputs for the two practitioner events that the IGC is planning to hold (With Ritva Reinikka, World Bank and Autumn Conference by Richard Manning, CSAE).

Political Economy: The workshop has helped to build a framework in which the political scientists and economists work together to create a more operational agenda for discussing policy remedies for state fragility, which improve economic incentives.

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