Over the past 15 years, there has been an increasing appreciation for effective institutions and governance as determinants of the relative success of developing countries in promoting economic growth and poverty reduction. Many different institutions are supporting efforts to improve transparency and accountability in developing countries, often acting from a single perspective on what is needed. Advocates for different approaches tend to operate in isolation, focusing on strengthening the rule of law and legal institutions, reducing corruption, improving fiduciary systems, fostering democracy, building capacity of legislators and legislative bodies, developing media institutions, expanding and strengthening civil society advocacy organizations, building think tanks, and so on.
Each of these efforts benefits from sensible rationales, but the silos are not typically considered together either in an analytical sense or from a strategic perspective of how best to have an impact in gaining the desired outcome of, generally, governments that are more effective in improving the welfare of their citizens because they are more accountable to their citizens. To move this area of knowledge forward, the Transparency and Accountability Project is developing a framework for better understanding how governance structures interact and what improved transparency and accountability will mean in terms of development outcomes.
David de Ferranti is the Director of the Transparency and Accountability Project. He previously served in the World Bank for over 20 years, most recently as Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, and joined Brookings as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow upon his retirement from the Bank in 2005. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Princeton University, and a Bachelors degree from Yale University.