News and Events

New publication:Beyond Institutions: Institutions and organisations in the politics and economics of poverty reduction - a thematic synthesis of research evidence

Adrian Leftwich and Kunal Sen

As IPPG comes to an end, this publication reports on its work between 2005-2010. It identifies and highlights the most important common themes and policy implications that flow from the evidence drawn from the work-streams and research projects of IPPG as well as other DFID-funded consortia. The authors write:

"Policy-makers and analysts tend to forget that institutions are politically
negotiated, bargained and hammered out by the representatives of more or less formally organised interests. But they also need to be implemented and reformed when necessary... ...organisations are required for this and the processes involved are political processes. For institutions to work, the rules need to be regarded by the players as legitimate, and they must be enforced. That requires individual and collective agency, especially organisations, in both the public and the private sectors.

So while institutions matter for development, organisations matter for institutional formation and efficacy. And the way organisations and institutions interact is something that policy-makers need to address more rigorously and consistently. For this interaction is at the heart of the politics and political economy of development."

Download Beyond Institutions: Institutions and organisations in the politics and economics of poverty reduction - a thematic synthesis of research evidence


New publication: State-Business Relations and Economic Growth in sub Saharan Africa:
A review of case studies in Ghana, Mauritius, South Africa and Zambia

Dirk Willem te Velde, Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and IPPG, with Adrian Leftwich

Recent econometric analysis of state-business relations (SBRs) in Africa from IPPG shows that where effective state-business relations are established - either through formal or informal institutional patterns and relationships - the growth effects are generally positive.

But such institutions of co-operation and credibility cannot be made to order. Establishing, sustaining and renewing effective state-business relations are political processes. This new publication synthesises the work from four contrasting country studies from IPPG's state-business relations work in order to better understand the relationship between state-business relations and economic performance.

Download State-Business Relations and Economic Growth in sub Saharan Africa: A review of case studies in Ghana, Mauritius, South Africa and Zambia


New publication: Effective State-Business Relations, Industrial Policy and Economic Growth

A new IPPG-ODI study, Effective State-Business Relations, Industrial Policy and Economic Growth, is published today.

Edited by Dirk Willem te Velde of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), this collection of essays by internationally distinguished scholars discusses the nature of state-business relations (SBRs), and the links between SBRs and economic performance. The study also showcases the results of SBR work from researchers linked through IPPG. Contributors include:

Abla Abdel-Latif, American University, Cairo
Tilman Altenburg, German Development Institute
Massimiliano Cali, Overseas Development Institute
Karen Ellis, Overseas Development Institute
Justin Yifu Lin, The World Bank
Hubert Schmitz, Institute of Development Studies
Kunal Sen, Manchester University.

Justin Yifu Lin's essay, drawing on recent work on a new structural approach to economic development, outlines a path towards an optimal framework for state-business relations: "The general concern with state involvement in economic development is its propensity to create suboptimal business arrangements and practices, inefficiencies and costly distortions that open the way to rent seeking. In this context, establishing successful SBRs requires an appropriate policy framework which allows the state to support industrial development and technological upgrading but also minimises opportunities for rent seeking."

"Our study shows that when the state and business interact effectively, they can promote more efficient allocation of scarce resources, conduct a more appropriate industrial policy, remove the biggest obstacles to growth and create wealth more efficiently," says te Velde, who also contributes a ten-point conclusion on state-business relations and economic performance. "But when the two sides fail to co-operate, or engage in harmful collusion, economic activity centres on wealth creation for the few rather than the many."

Download Effective State-Business Relations, Industrial Policy and Economic Growth. Essays are available singly or as a complete set.

Download news release on Effective State-Business Relations, Industrial Policy and Economic Growth.



Access to Forest Justice?
Workshop series on IPPG's research study on the Forest Rights Act 2006

This month sees a number of workshops in India, led by IPPG project lead Oliver Springate-Baginski of the University of East Anglia, on IPPG's research study on the Forest Rights Act 2006 and its implementation. The workshops , in Hyderabad (15 July), Bhubaneswar (17 July) and Delhi (19 July) will present findings based on primary research from more than twenty villages across three Indian states (West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh) conducted since 2008.

The final full-day conference will be held at the Indian International Centre New Delhi and include new documentary film screenings from the project as well as presentations from Dr. Springate-Baginski; Professor Purnamita Dasgupta, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi; Professor M Gopinath Reddy, Centre for Economic & Social Studies, Hyderabad; Professor Kailas Sarap, Sambalpur University, Orissa; Madhu Sarin, project adviser; and Dr. Ajit Banerjee. For more about Delhi workshop attendance, please email MS Bisha at

The workshop series has also been supported by the

Read the latest FRA paper, India's Forest Rights Act -The anatomy of a necessary but not sufficient institutional reform.


Financial Express India - Formal institutional change triggered India's growth surge

An article on India's growth acceleration by IPPG's Kunal Sen featured in national business daily, the Financial Express, on 8 June 2010. In the article, Sen considers the contribution of institutions to India's economic success. Read the article.

Why does the World Cup work?

Footballers from 32 countries are converging on South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Participants from Algeria to the USA, from Korea DPR to New Zealand, divided by language, religion, culture and politics, some rich, some poor - so how can it all possibly work?

In a blog for Research for Development (R4D) Research Dialogue, IPPG's Adrian Leftwich considers the role of institutions and a different approach to the roles of the game. See:


R4D: The Bluffer's Guide to State Business Relations

Understanding state business relations has become an increasingly important element in analysing the politics of economic growth and development. But what are state-business relations? R4D Research Dialogue leads this week with IPPG's two-minute guide.



State Business Relations Workshops - India

IPPG co-hosted SBR workshops in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal in May:
State Business Relations and Performance of Manufacturing Sector in Andhra Pradesh
20 May, 2010 - Hyderabad

This SBR workshop was co-hosted with the Centre for Economic and Social Studies (CESS). The event, on 20 May, was covered in the state's Telugu-language papers, Varta and Sakshi.

State Business Relations in West Bengal

24 May, 2010 - Kolkata

This SBR workshop was co-hosted with CUTS (CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment).
Read agenda and background paper:

New publication: State, Business and Growth in Post-Apartheid South Africa

It's now twenty years since Nelson Mandela was freed after serving 27 years in prison ( Expectations of a new South Africa that would support pro-poor growth were high. But have the anticipated levels of pro-poor growth materialised?

In their new paper, State, Business and Growth in Post-Apartheid South Africa, University of Cape Town Professor of Economics Nicoli Nattrass and Professor of Politics and Sociology Jeremy Seekings investigate why South Africa's economic performance following democratic transition has failed to meet expectations. Focusing particularly on the emergence of politically well-connected black corporate elites, they look at why state-business relations remain fragile and highly fragmented and the prospects for pro-poor growth.

This study forms part of IPPG's major project investigating state-business relations across India and a range of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read State, Business and Growth in Post-Apartheid South Africa



New book by IPPG researcher

IPPG researcher Paul Hare's latest book, Vodka and Pickled Cabbage: Eastern European Travels of a Professional Economist, has just been published. The book covers the period from Paul's first visit to Eastern Europe in 1968 (coinciding with the tragic end of the Prague Spring) through to the latest stages of EU enlargement in 2004 and 2007. It is a mix of travel tale; economic and political history; and economic accounts of central planning, the issues involved in building a market-type economy, and the particular problems faced by the transition economies in preparing themselves for EU accession.

Whilst not formally part of the IPPG programme, the book looks at institutions and their critical importance for a well functioning market-type economy. Indeed it was thinking about such issues in the context of the transition economies that led to Paul, an academic at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, being involved with IPPG in the first place. Thus the book highlights the importance of protecting private property rights and private business contracts, and gives examples of how things can go badly wrong when property and contracts are not protected. Beyond this, it discusses instances of poor business environment where old and poorly performing firms are protected by the state, and where conditions for the entry of new firms, generally vital for a dynamic private sector, are not well developed. Analysis of this topic relates to the broader SBR theme within IPPG. Last, the book also discusses the area of trade liberalisation and the institutions that are needed to support freer and more open international trade. Overall, while the book does not provide a recipe for growth, it tries to make clear that until the 'right' institutions were in place, the transition economies were unlikely to prove very successful economically.

Read more about Paul's IPPG work in Ghana and a number of IPPG papers by Paul for IPPG, free to download at

Vodka and Pickled Cabbage: Eastern European Travels of a Professional Economist is published by Athens Press, GPB10.99, available from Amazon.


This is Africa magazine: Picking winners: the return of industrial policy

Dr Adrian Leftwich is quoted in the FT Group magazine article which looks at
how the financial crisis is leading to a re-evaluation of how the state can promote economic development.

See the article here



Winners of the GDN Conference Awards

IPPG researcher Dr. Dibyendu Maiti of the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, was awarded Second Prize in the category Regional Integration - Convergence Big Time or an Opportunity Wasted? at the Eleventh Annual Global Development Conference in Prague, in January 2010.

The five awards received 485 entries, with Jean-Philippe Platteau Professor of Economics, University of Namur and James Robinson, Professor of Government at Harvard University amongst the jury members for the final stges.

Dr Maiti won his prize for his paper on Regional Openness, Income Growth and Disparity across Major India states during 1980-2004, which draws on insights from his IPPG work.

For more on the awards:

Watch Dibyendu Maiti at the awards:


NEWS RELEASE: Analysing the economics and politics of state-business relations in Africa and India – new research findings

The first results from IPPG's major project investigating state-business relations across India and a range of countries in sub-Saharan Africa are now available.

The findings, which range from a new index that compares the effectiveness of state-business relations in Indian states, to a study of institutional weakness in post-apartheid South Africa, share the aim of identifying the political and economic factors affecting the relations between states and businesses and which shape the institutions (both formal and informal) which govern them.


IPPG researcher wins the prestigious African Professorship Competition

IPPG researcher Dr Jean Claude Saha, of the University of Ngaoundere, Cameroon, emerged as one of the top laureates at the14th edition of the Professorship competition, known in French as the Concours d'Agregation en Sciences Juridiques, Politiques, Economiques et de Gestion, organised every two years by the Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l'Enseignement Superieur (CAMES).

CAMES is an international organisation that manages higher education in Francophone African countries, and this competition is aimed at promoting deserving African university lecturers to the rank of Professor.

This year, more than 90 African lecturers took part in the competition, 36 of whom were in the Economics category. Candidates came from nine countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Togo, Senegal and Gabon). In Economics, nine candidates succeeded. Dr Jean Claude Saha, in part thanks to his IPPG paper, emerged in second position. Following this success, Dr Saha becomes Professor Saha.



See media coverage [in French]:



Conference: Rural territorial dynamics: a Latin American perspective

Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, Quito, Ecuador

9 September 2009

This seminar presented the latest results from IPPG's Rural Territorial Dynamics research cluster in Ecuador and Peru, with some results of an initial phase in Bolivia. The research examines the institutional underpinnings of inclusive growth processes in rural territories. The seminar was opened by Ecuador's minister of agriculture. Dr. Ramon Espinel.

Two case studies, Tungurahua in Ecuador and Cuatro caminos in Peru, illustrated growth findings and where poverty and/or inequality were reduced, with a field trip to Tungurahua revealing some remarkable institutional reforms.

Read more


Workshop: Investment Selection and Investment Policy in Ghana Accra, 5 November 2009

Workshop Poster

Ghana seems to have found its way in the last decade, achieving decent growth rates, noticeable improvements in living standards, and very respectable rates of investment. Nevertheless, there are widespread feelings in the country that Ghana could be doing even better, and problems with the investment environment might well form part of the explanation.

Minister Hannah Tetteh

Professor Paul Hare and his researcher, Felicia Owusu Fofie, both from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, were in Accra, Ghana for the closing policy workshop of their research project on Ghana (funded by DFID). The workshop was attended by around 40 business representatives and policy-makers, including two government ministers, both of whom delivered very interesting presentations. Paul Hare was interviewed by one of Ghana's main broadcasters, and for Ghana's daily newspaper, The Daily Graphic.

Preview research (final version end 2009): The Institutional Context of Industrial Investment Selection: A Case Study from Ghana

You can also download the Heriot-Watt case study on State-Business Relations: State-Business Relations and Economic Growth in Ghana.



Researcher on the road: In search of Malawi's business elites

Think that researchers work in ivory towers? Think again. On the road in search of Malawi's business elites, University of York, IPPG PhD student Henry Chingaipe encountered hidden archives, malaria and buses that went nowhere.

Henry's acount of his fieldwork experiences. The joys and pitfalls of doing an historical institutionalist inquiry in Malawi will form an appendix to his PhD (Institution Formation, Maintenance and Change: the Politics of State-Business Relations in Malawi).



Comment: Nobel Prize decision highlights significance of institutions

This year's Nobel Prize in economics has been jointly awarded to the political scientist Elinor Ostrom, of Indiana University, and the economist, Oliver Williamson, of the University of California, Berkeley (12 October).

Elinor Ostrom has been awarded the Economics Nobel for her pioneering work on the governance and decentralised management of common pool resources. For poor people and others living in natural resource-based development contexts, such resources, including pastures, forests and fish stocks, are vital. Prior to Ostrom's research, privatisation or state ownership were regarded as the main governance options to address what has been described as the "Tragedy of the Commons". Drawing on extensive and meticulous evidence, Ostrom highlighted and documented the success - and often superiority - of a third policy avenue, where local users had formulated and implemented rules and enforcement systems that ensured sustainable outcomes. Ostrom's ideas have influenced IPPG's research on the Forest Rights Act in India

Oliver Williamson's work provides a conceptual basis in the understanding of why informal institutions, such as social networks, are crucial in underpinning economic transactions in the early stages of economic development; and why individuals often band together to form organisations in order to reduce the 'transaction costs' of dealing directly with each other via contracts.  Relating to other individuals through an internal organisational hierarchy, or through relational contracts such as networks, is often more efficient than relating to them through contracts in a marketplace. Williamson highlights the importance of non-market institutions in mediating economic activity in developing and transition countries, where formal institutions such as courts and bankruptcy laws are not yet in place.

Williamson's thinking has been important in many of the projects undertaken by IPPG researchers. See:

Moreover, and from an IPPG point of view, what is particularly interesting and important about this jointly-awarded Nobel prize and the work of the two distinguished Laureates is its implicit recognition that the processes which help to shape effective economic institutions are political ones. It highlights that the disciplines of economics and political science each have a significant contribution to make to our understanding of how effective institutions are formed, sustained and changed - a theme that has been central to much IPPG work.

Read the news release for the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

Read the scientific background for the 2009 Nobel Committee decision.


Professor Kunal Sen, Professor of Development Economics and Policy in the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester
Dr Adrian Leftwich, Senior Lecturer, Department of Politics at the University of York
Co-directors, Institutions for Pro-Poor Growth (IPPG)



Event: The role of industrial policy in development

Overseas Development Institute

15 October 2009 09:00-10:45hrs

This event brings together Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist and Senior Vice-President of the World Bank, and Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in the Political Economy of Development, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge, following their recent high profile debate. The debate, in the September 2009 issue of Development Policy Review, asked Should industrial policy in developing countries conform to comparative advantage or defy it? Both support a strong role for the state in promoting economic development, but differ on the specific role that industrial policy can play.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has invited them both to further the discussion on what role industrial policy can play in promoting development. Presentations from the speakers will be followed by comments from Dirk Willem te Velde (ODI), who will discuss the topic in light of the ongoing work with Institutions for Pro Poor Growth on state-business relations and industrial policy in a number of African countries, and Karen Ellis (ODI), who will discuss the topic in light of her recent work on competition policy in developing countries.

More than fifty people signed up in the first two hours of the event going online and ODI plans to stream the event live (see for more)



How non-state actors influence budget outcomes in Zambia

A new study published today (15 October 2009) explores how different interest groups in Zambia influence the adoption of pro-poor budgets. The IPPG study, How non-state actors lobby to influence budget outcomes in Zambia, by Samuel M. Bwalya, Ezekiel Phiri and Kelvin Mpembamoto, all senior personnel at the Zambia Revenue Authority, forms part of IPPG's wider exploration of state-business relations in Africa.

This paper examines the role non-state actors can play in shaping tax and expenditure policies through institutional arrangements which allow their participation in the budget process. The findings show that while pro-poor budgetary measures have been adopted in Zambia, the political reality is that professional and commercial interests appear to have greater influence. Their technical skills, grasp of procedures, contacts and knowledge of appropriate access routes give them a tactical advantage. Meanwhile pro-poor groups such as civil society organisations (CSOs) are politically less effective. Consistent with emerging IPPG findings that political processes shape both the form and effectiveness of institutional arrangements for poverty reduction, the authors recommend a role for donors in helping to improve technical capacities and lobbying skills of such pro-poor groups. They also suggest realignment of institutions such as the Zambia Business Council and Zambia Business Forum.

See abstract

Download pdf


Just published: Analysing forest rights reform in India

As the rights of local people in forest landscapes receives renewed international attention, a new IPPG paper explores the implementation of India's breakthrough Forest Rights Act (2006).

India has the largest numbers of inhabitants in the world who depend on forest for at least part of their subsistence and cash livelihoods - 275 million poor rural people (27 percent of the total population), according to World Bank figures (2006). Whilst the Forest Rights Act is a major piece of enabling legislation, the "prize" itself - the allocation of rights on the ground - depends on implementation.

The research project on which this paper is based, part of IPPG's research on the Politics of Property Rights, is undertaking detailed research in three states in India (West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh) and will present its findings in a series of research papers supported by filmed testimonies from the forest-dwellers themselves. This new paper provides the historical and political context behind the landmark legislation. It shows that both institutional innovation and implementation require effective political action if the intended beneficiaries are to experience the intended gains of reform.

Read the Forest Rights Act study.



IPPG e-newsletter - September 2009

IPPG's latest e-newsletter is now available. Highlights include:


South Africa: presenting SBR research back to business

University of Cape Town Professor of Economics Nicoli Nattrass and professor of Politics and Sociology Jeremy Seekings are conducting a South African case study of how state-business relations are shaped by the historical growth path and by labour-market institutions inherited from the past, but which are strongly influenced by policy changes (notably black economic empowerment). They argue that South Africa's growth path will only become 'pro-poor' when institutional changes are made to facilitate a more labour-demanding growth path. This, however, would require compromises from organised labour. Their ideas have been aired in business forums as part of their ongoing research. See Professor Nattrass's paper for the Centre for Development and Enterprise on the challenges of job creation.


IPPG: in the news in Malawi

Land reform was a hot issue during Malawi's recent general elections. IPPG researcher Dr Blessings Chinsinga, of Chancellor College, University of Malawi, used the opportunity to outline some of the issues and findings from his study on land reform in a double-page spread in Malawi's The Nation newspaper. The article appeared on 29 July 2009.

The feature is not available online but you can read Dr Chinsinga's original transcript here

(Please note that the text may differ slightly from the version as published).


State-business relations: constructing an effective SBR index for Indian state

Massimiliano Cali, Siddhartha Mitra and Purnima Purohit's new paper for IPPG focuses on the measurement of a specific economic institution - the relation between state and business.

To date, this area has received relatively little attention, and the new paper represents the most comprehensive effort to date to construct indices that systematically measure the quality and intensity of SBRs. For the first time, the indices are constructed at the sub-national level, for states within a country (India) rather than at national level.

Read more


The State of Capitalism by Prof Kunal Sen

Read Kunal Sen's article on the impact of institutions in India's business performance in the Financial Express (17th July 2009).


NEWS: Indian industry dependent on a forgotten workforce, new study reveals

Map of India

A new IPPG study on the use of contract labour in India's manufacturing sector found surprisingly high levels of contract workers being used - in some cases, as many as three times the official estimate. IPPG researcher Dr. Dibyendu Maiti's findings made headlines across India when he presented his paper at a conference at the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) New Delhi in Delhi in July 2009. The research, conducted across two major industrial states, West Bengal and Gujarat, also found that that minimum wage and other contract labour laws are widely violated.

Read Dibyendu Maiti's research

Read the news release here

See the conference programme: The Informal Sector in South Asia: Organisational Dynamics, Institutional Determinants, Interlinkages and Development

Delhi, India: 27 - 28 July 2009


IPPG e-newsletter - June 2009

IPPG's June e-newsletter is available here. Highlights include:


The role of institutions in Tanzania's coffee market - a case study

IPPG PhD student Shireen Mahdi recently stimulated policy dialogue in Tanzania with her policy note on the role of institutions in Tanzania's coffee market. The main impact of her note, currently being finalised as a World Bank country policy note, was to raise the profile of institutions as obstacles to or drivers of pro-poor agricultural growth.

Read Shireen's account


Recent event: IPPG presentation at the Houses of Parliament

Minister for Africa, Ivan Lewis MP, was the keynote speaker at IPPG's presentation, The Growth Game: The institutions of development and the development of institutions in Africa and South Asia, at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 4th March 2009. Lord Chidgey chaired the meeting, hosted by the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group with the All Party Group on Overseas Development (APGOOD). IPPG speakers included:


IPPG Ph.D. workshop group

Recent event: IPPG Ph.D. presentations

IPPG Ph.D. students (from India, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania) presented their work so far to a panel of academics from the Universities of York, Manchester, Greenwich and Malawi, Heriot Watt University and ODI. A full report is available.


Seminar: Malawi's land reform plans under the spotlight

An IPPG research study, published in December 2008, found serious shortcomings in Malawi's plans for far-reaching land reforms, currently being piloted in the south of the country.

See the Malawi research page for the news release and read the report from the World Bank seminar on Land Reform, Food Security and Agricultural Productivity (Malawi, December 2008).


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Last modified: Feb 2010

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