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Working with the Grain

May 23 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

“Best practices” prescriptions for development confuse the end point with the journey of getting
from here to there, so are not useful in responding to the governance ambiguities of our time. In
this seminar, Brian Levy will introduce an alternative approach laid out in his book, Working
with the Grain: Integrating Governance and Growth in Development Strategies (New York:
OUP, 2014).
In many nascent democracies, power is fragmented, the rule of law and public bureaucracies are
weak; political stability is sustained through personalized deals. The way forward in such
settings is to set aside ‘best practices’, and engage with things as they actually are – seeking out
‘with the grain’ opportunities for initiating a virtuous spiral of forward economic momentum and
incremental, cumulative improvements in institutions. As the seminar will explore, the
implications for action of this altered perspective are profound — on the economic front, on the
institutional front and vis-à- vis how commitment to a democratic approach to development can
be sustained over the long-haul.


May 23
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm