Politics of Policy Making
One anticipated outcome of participatory governance, as decision-making is dispersed closer to the citizenry through decentralization, is that pro-poor policy solutions to development will now be more firmly and explicitly embedded in mainstream discourses of development. Overarching, universalizing models such as PRSPs and MDGs would now have better chances of achieving their objectives because policymaking becomes consensual discourses of collective responsibility that truly address the multidimensional character of poverty. Ghana adopted participatory approaches to governance and decision-making more than two decades ago and decentralization and civil society involvement has had some impact. However, politics and governance continues to be an inherently centralized form of decision-making. Political elites continue to play a crucial role in what policy ideas are enacted and/or supported. Bureaucratic elites strongly influence which policies are implemented. In essence, pro-poor growth policies are unlikely to succeed without elite support because elites continue to influence policy formulation and implementation. It becomes imperative therefore that even in a participatory episteme, pro-poor growth policies are also analyzed through the lens of elite politics.
This sub-theme covers issues concerning governance, decentralization and the political economy of decision-making and will seek to bring more systematic research and analysis to the following areas:
1. The politics of policy formation and implementation under the PRSPs and MDGs era.
2. Processes of elite formation (nature and composition of political/ productive economic/bureaucratic elite; intra/inter-elite relationships political polarizations and intra/inter elite struggles).
3. How elite formation influences which pro-poor policies are deemed desirable and what gets implemented using case studies of government support for new areas in the various productive sectors.
4. Government-business/private sector relationship and its impact on pro-poor policy formulation and implementation.
Role and impact of civil society in pro-poor policy making and implementation.