An Assessment of Land Reform Policy Processes in Sierra Leone: A Network Based Approach

A predominantly agrarian country where land is one of the most important productive assets, land reform remains one of the most important but contentious policy issues in Sierra Leone. Despite several failed attempts to reform the country’s current land property rights and administrative arrangements, an assessment of these failed policy formulation policy processes have not been undertaken. In this paper, we use data collected during an elite network survey conducted in Sierra Leone in 2018 to quantitatively evaluate the recent land reform policy efforts that culminated into the 2015 National Land Policy. Specifically, we combine a belief formation model and a legislative decision-making model to quantify the knowledge-based power of the various stakeholders within the policy formulation process and the extent to which this power influences the policy beliefs of policy makers and other key stakeholders in the process formulation process. Our results indicate that the main policy beliefs, as it relates to reform or maintaining the current status quo, do not significantly change as a result of the exchange of expert information. This is because key stakeholders largely rely on their own control and only update their policy beliefs to a very limited extent after communications. Our results also indicate that the policy network structure in Sierra Leone facilitates consensus building, a process that might lead to increased ownership of policy programs by local stakeholders.





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