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The Governance Doctrine and the Agenda of Multilateral Institutions in Developing Countries: an International Political Economy Approach

Abstract : This interdisciplinary thesis in economics and political science analyzes the multidimensional aspects of the governance doctrine in the agendas of multilateral and International Organizations (IOs). How do politically neutral IOs succeed in promoting a political approach of "good" governance? To what extent is the scope of IOs' agendas likely to explain the relative underperformance of governance reforms undertaken during the three last decades in developing countries? These questionings have motivated the choice of the topic of this thesis dissertation as well as a use of an interdisciplinary framework, namely the International Political Economy (IPE). Indeed, the tools of IPE are the most suitable to grasp the interactions between economic and political factors beyond states boundaries. In such a situation, IOs are one of the various actors playing a significant role in the international political economy arena. In the same perspective, the promotion of the good governance concept can be positioned within the general debate about the relativism and universalism of norms and rules. Thus, this dissertation assumed that a fair knowledge of the political economy underpinning international development as well the political sociology of IOs are needed to clarify the scope and score of good governance reforms undertaken in developing countries. The first part of this dissertation uses two chapters to analyze the concept of governance in its genesis, conceptualization, diffusion and appropriation in the international development community. Chapter 1 found that current approaches of governance could be derived from Antiquity, Renaissance and Enlightenment philosopher's conceptions of power, authority exercise, legitimacy and, to a lesser extent, the efficient allocation of economic resources. However, modern conceptions break with these traditional approaches by considering the hybridity, heterogeneity and multiplicity of stakeholders in decision-making. This chapter also proposes a conceptualization of governance through a characterization of its main common interdisciplinary dimensions rather than adopting universal definition approaches. This led to a review of key criticisms addressed to the governance doctrine with respect to their consequences for developing countries. Chapter 2 brings its contribution to the debate on ideas and norms diffusion in development community by taking the example of the World Bank and its agenda on governance norms. We show that the World Bank has developed different behaviors vis-à-vis the governance doctrine, moving from economic to political and social approaches through a neoliberal framework. This chapter also proposes an analysis of the World Bank's soft power with respect to the governance norms spread worldwide through a bibliometric approach. To this regard, the chapter shows that the World Bank has become a leading global knowledge's Bank through its research activities and governance data production and dissemination. In addition, the World Bank's smart power, based on its governance indicators, has been found to exert some notable influences on its foreign development assistance policies as well as those of the other key aid actors. Through two chapters, the second part of the dissertation investigates about social and environmental dimensions of governance in a perspective of sustainable development in developing countries. Accordingly, chapter 3, which studies the behaviors of multilateral institutions in terms of social governance, shows that the trade-off between equity and efficiency in foreign aid allocation led to the emergence of good governance approach. This advent of governance approach constitutes a way to overcome the Samaritan dilemma through aid delegation to IOs. The empirical investigations, on the effects of multilateral aid on inequalities and social protection in developing countries, have produced mixed results that show aid beneficial effects only in recipient countries presenting good governance policies. Ultimately, chapter 4 proposes a principal-agent model highlighting some political economy interactions between supply and demand sides for good governance in the case of environmental compliance, corruption and deforestation in developing countries. This chapter suggests the need to consider the demand side of governance by promoting stakeholders' compliance and government's accountability. Indeed, environmental compliance is found to be likely to serve as a substitute for low judicial efficiency and a complement of high judicial efficiency in combating deforestation. Besides, the empirical investigations of the final chapter found that multilateral aid to the forestry sector is more effective in reducing deforestation in countries presenting both a better environmental compliance and rule of law.
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Gaoussou Diarra. The Governance Doctrine and the Agenda of Multilateral Institutions in Developing Countries: an International Political Economy Approach. Economics and Finance. Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I, 2012. English. ⟨tel-00790219⟩

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