Paths between Peace and Public Service : A Comparative Analysis of Public Service Reform Trajectories in Postconflict Countries / Jurgen Blum

Blum, Jürgen [Browse]
Washington, D.C. : The World Bank, 2018.
1 online resource (442 pages)


  • World Bank e-Library. [More in this series]
  • Directions in Development;Directions in Development - Public Sector Governance
Summary note
Building a capable public service is fundamental to postconflict state building. Yet in postconflict settings, short-term pressures often conflict with this longer-term objective. To ensure peace and stabilize fragile coalitions, the imperative for political elites to hand out public jobs and better pay to constituents dominates merit. Donor-financed projects that rely on technical assistants and parallel structures, rather than on government systems, are often the primary vehicle for meeting pressing service delivery needs. What, then, is a workable approach to rebuilding public services postconflict?Paths between Peace and Public Service seeks to answer this question by comparing public service reform trajectories in five countries-Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste-in the aftermath of conflict. The study seeks to explain these countries' different trajectories through process tracing and structured, focused methods of comparative analysis. To reconstruct reform trajectories, the report draws on more than 200 interviews conducted with government officials and other stakeholders, as well as administrative data. The study analyzes how reform trajectories are influenced by elite bargains and highlights their path dependency, shaped by preconflict legacies and the specifics of the conflict period. As the first systematic study on postconflict public service reforms, it identifies lessons for the future engagement of development partners in building public services."Rebuilding the bureaucracy is possibly the most underappreciated policy and research question in fragile states today. This is one of the most politically astute and thoughtful books I've read on postconflict policy making of any kind. - Christopher Blattman, Ramalee E. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict Studies, Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, Harris Public Policy, University of Chicago "Rebuilding states after conflict is the greatest challenge in development today. And yet we know precious little about the actual experience of countries that have tried to rebuild their civil service and restore public services. This is a monumental study based on extensive empirical data and field-based research across multiple cases that actually opens up the black box of state building in conflict-affected countries. It should be required reading for anyone who takes on this extraordinary challenge. - Joel S. Hellman, Dean, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University"There isn't a more pressing problem in international development than formulating practical strategies for building institutions in fragile states. This book is a remarkable distillation of the frontline experiences of the World Bank in tackling this task. Finally, we have the basis for an empirically grounded assessment of what works and why. Unputdownable. - James Robinson, Reverend Dr. Richard L. Pearson Professor of Global Conflict and University Professor; Institute Director, Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts, Harris Public Policy, University of Chicago.
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  • 9781464810831
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