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Deliberation is the process by which a group of people, each with equal voice, can - via a process of discussion and debate - reach an agreement. Deliberation and Development attempts to do two things. First, it rethinks the role of deliberation in development and shows that it has potential well beyond a narrow focus on participatory projects. Deliberation, if properly instituted, has the potential to have a transformative effect on many if not all aspects of development, and especially in addressing problems of collective action, coordination, and entrenched inequality. This has broad implications both at the global and local level. Second, the book demonstrates that taking deliberation seriously calls for a different approach to both research and policy design and requires a much greater emphasis on the processes by which decisions are made, rather than an exclusive focus on the outcomes. Deliberation and Development contributes to a broader literature to understand the role of communicative processes in development.
The Policy Research Report Localizing Development: Does Participation Work? brings analytical rigor to a field that has been the subject of intense debate and advocacy, and billions of dollars in development aid. It briefly reviews the history of participatory development and argues that its two modalities, community-based development and local decentralization, should be treated under the broader unifying umbrella of local development. It suggests that a distinction between organic participation (endogenous efforts by civic activists to bring about change) and induced participation (large-scale efforts to engineer participation at the local level via projects) is key, and focuses on the challenges of inducing participation. The report provides a conceptual framework for thinking about participatory development and then uses this framework to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature. The framework develops the concept of civil society failure and explains its interaction with government and market failures. It argues that participatory development, which is often viewed as a mechanism for bypassing market and government failures by harnessing civic capacity, ought to be seen instead as a mechanism that, if done right, could help to repair important civil society failures. It distills literature from anthropology, economics, sociology, and political science to outline the challenges for effective policy in this area, looking at issues such as the uncertainty of trajectories of change, the importance of context, the role of elite capture and control, the challenge of collective action, and the role of the state. The review of the evidence looks at a variety of issues: the impact of participatory projects on inclusion, civic capacity, and social cohesion; on key development outcomes, such as income, poverty, and inequality; on public service delivery; and on the quality of local public goods. It draws on the evidence to suggest several recommendations for policy, emphasizing the key role of learning-by-doing. It then reviews participatory projects funded by the World Bank and finds the majority lacking in several arenas - particularly in paying attention to context and in creating effective monitoring and evaluation systems that allow for learning.
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