Stakeholder Participation in Sub-Sahara Africa : A Network Approach

The concept of stakeholder participation has become a critical approach in development policy. The inclusion of relevant stakeholder organizations in the policy process leads to transparency and increases the incentive of political agents to implement policies that reflect the priorities of the society rather than serving vested interests at the expense of the general public. While there is broad agreement regarding the benefits of stakeholder participation, neither a clear concept nor a framework based on micro-political theory have been developed yet that allow for a quantitative assessment of participatory policy processes. In this context, this study develops a theoretical framework that enables the derivation of network-based indicators to quantitatively assess the extent of stakeholder participation in the policy process. The empirical application in the context of the CAADP-reform process using Ghana, Senegal, and Uganda as case studies yields distinct participation patterns in the three case-countries. Interestingly, neither the indicator of Government Accountability nor the indicator of Government Capture appear to be correlated with the political and economic development of the three countries which contradicts the common hypothesis in the Comparative Political Economy literature that poor government performance in developing countries is primarily the result of biased incentives. The indicator of Political Ownership yields the expected results in accordance with the political performance in the three countries. To test the determined network structures and the derived indicators for statistical robustness the application of an ERGM-MCMC framework yields stable results in general. Furthermore, the significant relationship between political communication networks and observed policy beliefs validates the underlying theoretical framework of political belief formation.


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