The role of State in Development: Core Course GDP at ISS

This year I have contributed the biggest block of lectures in the core course of GDP on Development Policies and Practices. The students now are busy with writing their essays and preparing for their exams.

I have started blogging about individual lectures, but then decided that I should rather do a wrap-up of the whole block that may be interesting for students to read about from their perspective.

The block was made out of 7 lectures/sessions with the following structure:

Lectures 1-2 on State bureaucracies and types of states, mostly focusing on the debate around “developmental state”. The rise of China and Asian tigers have made the state an important player in development, but at the same time, we have the rise of the governance agenda with non-state actions winning in importance. The question here is whether a “developmental state” still makes sense in the 21st century.

Lectures 3-4 on Policy Process and Politics of Policy touched upon what governments do when designing and implementing policies. Here the major issues are the policy cycle, the three dimentions of policy and the role of evidence in policy-making.

Lectures 5-6 cover the issue of judiciary in development and the major debate of the relationship between law and politics. This is the section when we discuss the human right to water, reform of the judiciary sector around the world and the issues of where the law ends and where politics starts. Session 6 is a simulation exercise about the human right to water in South Africa with the court simulation as the basis.

Lecture 7 is the final one about the role of global governance and diffusion of policy approaches across time and space. Here we discuss why panaceas persist in global development, how they get implementated around the world and how we can learn to consider the context in application of “policy solutions” to identified problems.

This part is complemented with the part on general policy and development vocbulary and the parts on the private sector and the non-governmental sector. Next year I will be coordinating this course and look forward to revisit the structure of it some time in the coming months.

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