It is widely believed that the state in developing countries is weak. The public sector, in particular, is often regarded as corrupt and dysfunctional. This book provides an urgently needed corrective to such overgeneralized notions of bad governance in the developing world. It examines the variation in state capacity by looking at a particularly paradoxical and frequently overlooked phenomenon: effective public organizations or 'pockets of effectiveness' in developing countries. Why do these pockets exist? How do they emerge and survive in hostile environments? And do they have the potential to trigger more comprehensive reforms and state-building? This book provides surprising answers to these questions, based on detailed case studies of exceptional public organizations and state-owned enterprises in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East. The case studies are guided by a common analytical framework that is process-oriented and sensitive to the role of politics.
The concluding comparative analysis develops a novel explanation for why some public organizations in the developing world beat the odds and turn into pockets of public sector performance and service delivery while most do not. This book will be of strong interest to students and scholars of political science, sociology, development, organizations, public administration, public policy and management.