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Tournament Approaches to Policy Reform

Making Development Assistance More Effective

Clifford F. Zinnes

Publication Year: 2009

While much foreign aid achieves commendable goals, some is ineffective. In this volume, Clifford Zinnes argues that a donor's intrinsic informational limitations on the local context as well as inability to control the progress of interventions mean that lack of success is not rooting in insufficient funding but in maladapted institution designs of interventions that don't foster local ownership. He indentifies and assesses a newly emerging class of foreign aid delivery that promises to overcome these obstacles. The approach is based on "prospective inter-jurisdictional competition" (PIJC). Beneficiary groups —often local-level governments, supported by their private sector and civil society —act as teams and compete against each other under explicit predefined rules and objectives to design and implement interventions under their own aegis to achieve the highest quantitatively measured performance, either relative to others ("tournaments") or against a preset benchmark ("certification"). Teams that cooperate internally are the likeliest to win the rewards, which, aside from the longer run benefits of the intervention itself, might include more substantive financial or technical assitance from the sponsor.

Since only groups serious about reforming choose to play, Zinnes says the incentives generated by the ensuing "race-to-the-top" competitiion create local ownership, encouraging recipients to draw on their own knowledge. Moreover, since all teams that compete —and not just those who "win" donor rewards —benefit from their own reform efforts, he argues that this approach can leverage aid resources more than a conventional bilateral aid agreement. Zinnes presents a dozen recent applications of the approach, including those sponsored by the World Bank, USAID, the United Nations, the Ford Foundation, and others. He also recommends improvements and ways to scale up PIJC-based projects in applications ranging from protecting the environment and reducing red tape through to raising literacy and co-opting warlords.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Table of Contents

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pp. xi-xviii

We at Brookings regard it as a strategic priority for the institution to contribute to the search for more ambitious and effective ways of defeating the scourge of global poverty. In spite of admonitions for the rich countries to increase their aid contributions to 1 percent of GDP, however, there has been a secular decline (HIV applications aside) of donor budgets in real terms until recently. At the same time, there has been a growing frustration with the slow...

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pp. xix-xx

I would also like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the Wolfensohn Center for Development, funded by James Wolfensohn, and to thank Johannes Linn, the Center’s director, for his field-hardened feedback, willingness to pursue innovation, and continued enthusiasm, without which this book would have never seen the light of day. In leading the Wolfensohn...

Abbreviations and Conventions

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pp. xxi-xxii

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-21

Why is it that there is almost universal agreement that foreign aid— sometimes called donor aid or development assistance—has not been particularly effective (Collier 2002; Espina and Zinnes 2003; Easterly 2006a and 2006b; World Bank 1998)?¹ Slowly the donor community has come to realize that the problem is not primarily one of insufficient funding.² Rather, it appears to be...

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2. The PIJC Approach

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pp. 22-53

This chapter examines the PIJC concept and approach in more detail, decomposing it into analyzable incentive components to facilitate an assessment of past experience, especially in terms of sustainability, scalability, and the role of initial conditions. It begins with the canonical steps in a PIJC application and proceeds with an explanation of the concepts that underpin the...

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3. Review of Certification Experience

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pp. 54-98

The novelty of a tournament for government transfers, reforms, or as an aid delivery vehicle means that the number of PIJC applications is limited. Therefore, in section 2.5, we proposed a two-tiered approach that would enable past experience to be used to its fullest for assessing PIJC. This chapter and the next one constitute the first tier of this approach, which applies the selection...

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4. Review of Tournament Experience

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pp. 99-150

As explained in chapter 2, the novelty of using a tournament for government transfers, reforms, or as an aid delivery vehicle means that examples of such PIJC applications are few. Therefore, a two-tiered strategy has been employed here to enable full use of this past experience to assess PIJC. The present chapter continues with the first tier by evaluating a series of real-world tournament...

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5. Review of Other Relevant Experience

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pp. 151-165

In the PIJC cases presented in chapters 3 and 4, the operative competitive mechanisms were either a certification or a tournament. Those applications exhibited many of the desirable PIJC design characteristics shown in table 2-2. The goal in examining those cases was to assess the efficacy and feasibility of the PIJC approach with actual real-world applications. For each case, I sought to...

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6. Synthesis and Analysis

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pp. 166-250

Chapters 3 through 5 provide a rich foundation for assessing the experience to date with prospective interjurisdictional competition as well as with applications utilizing some of its various components. The present chapter provides a synthesis of this substantial experience to identify lessons learned concerning the effectiveness and relevance of the PIJC approach. This is viewed...

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7. Conclusions and Scope for Future Applications

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pp. 251-295

In chapter 6, I endeavored to identify as many lessons as possible from the case studies of chapters 3 through 5. The numerous results were purposely case specific. The present chapter restates the nature of the mechanism choices in the starkest terms and then, in light of the findings of chapter 6, considers the pros and cons of the prospective interjurisdictional competition approach—and of...

Appendix A: Inventory of Projects

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pp. 297-317

Appendix B: Technical Exhibits for the Detailed Case Study Assessments

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pp. 318-324

Appendix C: Anatomy of a PIJC Application

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pp. 325-335

Appendix D: Mathematical Treatment of PIJC Leveraging of Sponsor Funds

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pp. 336-345


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pp. 347-354


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pp. 355-369

E-ISBN-13: 9780815703778
E-ISBN-10: 0815703775

Page Count: 369
Publication Year: 2009