Can customary authority reduce risks of corruption and local capture?
Read the full blog post in Public Administration Review – 23 October, 2018.
Governments and development agencies are increasingly working with communities to supply public goods and services, but recent evidence suggests that this community-driven development (CDD) is beset by corrupt practices, such as embezzlement and nepotism, and subject to manipulation of processes to benefit private interests. How can development practitioners ensure more resilience against risks of corruption and capture in community-driven development?
We suggest that development practitioners consider an alternative organisation often present in communities where development projects take place: customary authority. In the past several decades, scholars and development practitioners had assumed that customary authority was withering away and was no longer an important force in local politics. Yet in recent years, a new generation of scholarship examining the developing world, from sub-Saharan Africa to Afghanistan, illustrates the resilience of customary governance in the face of divergent forces such as violent conflict, democratisation, economic development, and migration.