With rigorous economic research and practical policy solutions, we focus on the issues and institutions that are critical to global development. Explore our core themes and topics to learn more about our work.
In timely and incisive analysis, our experts parse the latest development news and devise practical solutions to new and emerging challenges. Our events convene the top thinkers and doers in global development.
Indices that measure the quality of governance are woefully inadequate in giving an accurate picture of many countries, a leading political economist said.
Francis Fukuyama, senior fellow at Stanford University best known for his 1992 book “The End of History” which said liberal democracy and free market capitalism were the ultimate form of government, proposes a new framework for studying the effectiveness of the state in delivering goods and services to its citizens.
In a discussion paper, Fukuyama suggested that the quality of the executive branch is influenced by the level of professional expertise within its bureaucracy and how much independence the bureaucracy has to carry out its tasks.
Yet these two factors – capacity and autonomy – are not reflected adequately in current indices that attempt to measure the quality of governance, he said. Moreover, the data may not even exist in the first place to measure these factors. But identifying the shortcomings of current indices is a starting point for finding ways to improve them, he said.
In his paper, published on the Center for Global Development website, Fukuyama suggested that assessing the interaction between capacity and autonomy might help.
“That is, more or less autonomy can be a good or bad thing depending on how much underlying capacity a bureaucracy has. If an agency were full of incompetent, self-dealing political appointees, one would want to limit their discretion and subject them to clear rules,” Fukuyama said in the paper.