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Localising development: Does participation work?

Could you use a review of the history of participatory development? The 2013 World Bank Policy Research Report Localizing Development: Does Participation Work? is available for free download.

The book distills literature from anthropology, economics, sociology, and political science to outline the challenges for effective policy in this area. It looks 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 authors, Ghazala Mansuri and Vijayendra Rao, draw on the evidence to suggest several recommendations for policy, emphasising the key role of learning-by-doing. They review participatory projects funded by the World Bank and find the majority lacking in several arenas – particularly in paying attention to context and in creating effective monitoring and evaluation systems that allow for learning.