Good Governance Facades
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Original versionBergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI Working Paper WP 2015:2) 24 p.
Fashions come and go in the development community. When a policy idea becomes popular, some governments implement a cosmetic variant of the policy. What looks like development, are institutional façades; pretty from the outside, ugly from the inside. A good governance façade can be introduced deliberately to mislead observers and stakeholders to cover political theft. An example from the past is development planning, introduced with good intentions but sometimes exploited as a cover for corruption. In the 1960s donors rewarded developing countries that introduced five years plans by offering more aid. Recipient governments were therefore tempted to come up with cosmetic plans to satisfy foreign donors rather than the needs of their citizens. This paper argues that rents can be extracted under the cover of executing good policies; that nominally beneficial policies permit corrupt decision-makers to hide in plain sight.