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The New Participation in Development EconomicsCitizen Engagement in Public Policy at the National Level:A Case Study of Ghana's Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI)

Thompson, Isaac Nii Moi (2005) The New Participation in Development EconomicsCitizen Engagement in Public Policy at the National Level:A Case Study of Ghana's Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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ABSTRACTMainstream development economics has typically concentrated on the contents of public policy, such as GNP per capita and investment rates, to the virtual exclusion of the processes that shape those contents and the people who are affected by public policies. This preoccupation with content has in turn translated into an inordinate focus on "hard indicators" of development, such as Gross Domestic Product and exchange rates, at the expense of "soft indicators" like citizens' satisfaction with the contents and the process, a satisfaction which ideally should be part of the overall measure of the material and non-material progress of a nation. After more than 50 years of hard-indicator development economics, during which social disaffection with public policy appears to have risen alongside growing and widespread poverty, perhaps it is time to incorporate soft indicators into development discourse and thus offer society a more complete view of its development efforts - a view that would not only enrich the policy process but help it to yield outcomes that at the very least reflect the aspirations and satisfactions of the citizenry. This dissertation represents a modest attempt to foster such a complementarity in the development process, using Ghana's Structural Adjustment Participatory Review Initiative (SAPRI) as a case study.Held in Accra in 1997, SAPRI was an effort by civil society organizations to gain a greater role in the policy process, after nearly 20 years of structural adjustment, during which public policy was formulated by a technocratic few and at the end of which social conditions had deteriorated not improved. Advocates of this "new participation," or citizen engagement in development at the national rather than local level, argued that a participatory approach to national policy making was the surest way to "intercept" flawed policies at the national level before they become programs and projects at the local level. The success of such participation, as viewed by the participants, not organizers, was defined in terms of inclusiveness, voice, and impact. Questionnaires were sent to them and the data analyzed with non-parametric statistics. Among other things, participants' perceptions of inclusiveness were found to be conditioned significantly by such factors as the sex of respondent, despite efforts by organizers to promote "gender balance." Female respondents, for example, were less likely than male respondents to view SAPRI as adequately inclusive of women and especially children's issues, despite claims of representativeness by organizers. Voice - the ability of citizens to make policy demands unhindered- was, as anticipated, associated more with the organizational arrangements of the process than any other postulated factors, such as analytical capacity of the participants' organizations. Overall, respondents' views of the impact of their participation in SAPRI on public policy were surprisingly found to reflect existing hard indicators of development. The view by majority of respondents, for example, that children's issues received less attention at the forum was borne out by findings in the Ghana Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire (2004) that the nutritional status of children under five years deteriorated severely between 1997 and 2003.The findings are situated within the context of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy, the localized version of the IMF-World Bank-inspired Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, which considers "widespread civil society" participation as one of its strongest features.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Thompson, Isaac Nii
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairChandra,
Committee MemberMendeloff, Johnjmen@gspia.pitt.eduJMEN
Committee MemberGinsburg, Markmbg@pitt.eduMBG
Committee MemberNelson, Paulpjnelson@gspia.pitt.eduPJNELSON
Date: 1 September 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 July 2005
Approval Date: 1 September 2005
Submission Date: 23 August 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: africa; development; economics; knowledge utilization; public policy
Other ID:, etd-08232005-131813
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:00
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:49


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