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  • 2010 Richard Bennet
    Beginning in the late 1980s, Rio de Janeiro suffered increasing urban violence as the drug trade moved south from the Caribbean.  The favelas, shantytowns and slums on the hillsides surrounding Brazil's second-largest city, saw a rise in both inter-gang violence and clashes between police and drug traffickers.  Innocent bystanders often died in the crossfire.  In 2007, working with the support of the governor, the state's secretary for public security, José Mariano Beltrame, and his colleagues tried a new approach.  Instead of repeated military-style interventions...
  • 2010 Amy Mawson
    Mozambique’s first multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections in October 1994 followed 16 years of civil war. Because neither side had won the conflict, the stakes of the contest were high. Mutual distrust characterized the run-up to the vote. A new electoral law in early 1994 created a multiparty election commission that forced the parties to work together on overcoming the many operational challenges of running elections in a sprawling country severely damaged by war. The commission succeeded in damping the risks of violence that are often associated with...
  • 2010 Rushda Majeed
    T.N. Seshan took over as head of the Election Commission of India in 1990, when negative campaigning was on the increase. Candidates appealed to voters on caste and communal lines, sometimes provoking violence. A voluntary Model Code of Conduct, designed to help moderate the excesses of political parties during elections, had lain dormant since its creation 30 years earlier. During the next 11 years, Seshan and his successor, M.S. Gill, worked to elevate the code’s norms and to elicit compliance. Although some campaign excesses persisted, by 2010 the code had become...
  • 2010 Richard Bennet, Michael Woldemarim
    After nearly a decade of civil war, Somaliland declared independence in 1991 amid high expectations. Though the war had left the East African country desperately poor and deeply divided, the rebel organization that had won liberation, the Somali National Movement (SNM), had taken steps to ensure that peace and public order would be preserved in the run-up to a transition to civilian government in May 1993. Yet scarcely a year into its administration, the SNM imploded, unleashing a spiral of violence that threatened the country’s future. As the prospect of all-out warfare...
  • 2010 Richard Bennet and Michael Woldemariam
    A decade after the former British protectorate of Somaliland severed ties with the rest of Somalia and declared independence, the fledgling state took the next steps toward democracy by holding direct elections. This transition occurred over the course of four years and three elections, during which the people of Somaliland elected district councils in 2002, a president and vice president in 2003, and a parliament in 2005. Somaliland’s democratic elections, the first in the Horn of Africa since 1969, were landmark achievements, as traditional social and political mechanisms...
  • 2010 Deepa Iyer
    Before 2003, the Central Bank of Egypt, called the CBE, had exerted little control over monetary and foreign exchange conditions. High levels of bad debt in the banking sector and erratic government policies had undermined economic growth. Without a credible and independent supervisory authority, Egypt’s economic woes deepened. In the early 2000s, political will for change grew within the ruling National Democratic Party. In June 2003, the Unified Banking Law, pushed through by the party’s economic committee, paved the way for revitalizing the central bank....
  • 2011 Michael Woldemariam
    In March 2006, the Democratic Alliance won elections in the city of Cape Town, taking over administrative and political control of the municipality following four years of rule by the African National Congress, South Africa’s dominant party. Helen Zille, Cape Town’s new mayor, stepped into a difficult situation. Crumbling infrastructure had eroded service delivery for years, undermining public confidence in the city government and jeopardizing the long-term economic prospects of the Cape Town metropolitan area.   Lacking the revenue and administrative capacity...
  • 2011 David Hausman
    Between 1986 and 2008, direct tax revenue collected by Ghana’s Internal Revenue Service nearly doubled as a proportion of the country’s gross domestic product. This case study offers an account of organizational change within the IRS during that period. When the agency became autonomous from the rest of the Ghanaian civil service in 1986, its leaders recruited a large number of accountants and lawyers, raised salaries by 50%-100% and instituted a collective bonus system tied to annual revenue targets. In order to make taxes easier to pay, they delegated functions,...
  • 2009 David Hausman
    This case study offers an account of civil service reform efforts in Vietnam between 1998 and 2009, which yielded substantial formal policy changes but produced only modest practical changes to Vietnam's public employment system.  Before 1998, the Vietnamese civil service lacked standardized competitive recruitment and promotion procedures, offered salaries that did not cover the cost of living, provided insufficient and often irrelevant training, and included ministries that duplicated functions.  By 2009, the Ministry of Home Affairs had standardized and then devolved...
  • 2009 David Hausman
    This case study describes efforts to rebuild the Solomon Islands Public Service beginning in 2004.  When the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) intervened at the request of the Solomon Islands Parliament and ended the country's civil conflict in 2003, the Solomon Islands public service suffered from a critical shortage of trained personnel, insufficient pay tied to a complex and unequal housing-benefit policy, and slow and ineffective processes for centralized recruitment, promotion, and performance appraisal.  A small group of officials in the Solomon...
  • 2010 David Hausman
    As of January 2008, South African citizens had to wait more than four months, on average, to get a government identity document. The delays in producing IDs, which disrupted lives by preventing citizens from working or accessing government benefits, reflected longstanding organizational problems at the Department of Home Affairs, the agency responsible for issuing the IDs. The processes at each stage of ID production were in disarray, and the department's staff lacked effective supervision. Backlogs developed; workers became demoralized. In 2007, the department began to tackle the...
  • 2009 Andrew Schalkwyk
    In the wake of Georgia’s “Rose Revolution,” Jaba Ebanoidze took charge of the inefficient Public Registry. Housed within the Ministry of Justice, the registry held information about land, property rights and titling. Work procedures within the registry were overly bureaucratic and facilitated corruption by requiring multiple stages for application processes. The reform of the agency was part of the government’s wider economic program, which sought to open the country to private investment. A well-functioning registry was a key requirement for attracting foreign...
  • 2009 Daniel Scher
    Between 1999 and 2001, the powerful Directorate of Public Service Management in Botswana decentralized personnel authority to line ministries.  This process was critical in enabling ministries to be more efficient while also allowing the directorate to focus on more substantive issues concerning the public service.  The Botswana case demonstrates three components that contributed to the successful devolving of responsibility from a central public service ministry:  1) the training for and establishment of new human resource mechanisms within the line ministries, 2) the creation...
  • 2011 Gabriel Kuris and Amy Mawson
    After the 1998 parliamentary elections resulted in violent riots and a foreign military intervention, Lesotho’s leading political parties negotiated a new electoral model that increased the competitiveness of small parties. For the 2002 elections, the newly empowered Independent Electoral Commission worked to reform voter registration, educate voters about the new system, increase transparency, and build relationships of trust with political parties and the public. Careful, inclusive planning resulted in a peaceful election. Although the legislature did not change hands,...
  • 2010 Amy Mawson
    South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission faced a daunting task in January 1994.  The newly established body had less than four months to organize and implement the country's first fully inclusive democratic elections.  The stakes were high.  A successful vote would signal a new beginning for the nation after the apartheid era.  Failure could mean civil war.  Choosing suitable polling sites, dealing with parties' distrust, reaching alienated and possibly hostile communities,  addressing potential spoiler issues and remedying shortages of...
  • 2009 Rohan Mukherjee
    Nitish Kumar was elected chief minister of Bihar, India's poorest state, in December 2005, when the state's government was weighed down by two decades of institutional decline.  He inherited a paralyzed administration, an unmotivated bureaucracy and a state that could not adequately respond to the needs of its people.  His program of administrative reforms loosened the political stranglehold on the bureaucracy, decentralized authority within administrative hierarchies and brought government closer to citizens.  By 2009, Bihar was seen as a pioneer among Indian states in...
  • 2010 Lucas Issacharoff
    In 2008, Ghana held a peaceful run-off in a hotly contested presidential race, breaking the pattern of violence that had afflicted elections in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and several other African countries during the same period.  Since the advent of multi-party democracy in 1992, Ghana had held three consecutive elections that observers regarded as relatively free and fair.  However, the 2008 presidential race generated concern.  Previous elections had revealed substantial ethnic block voting, raising allegations of misbehavior by the two major parties both during the campaign...
  • 2010 Michael Woldemariam
    Although Bangalore had long been considered one of India's premier metropolitan areas, government agencies largely failed to respond to the city's rapid growth during the information technology boom of the 1990s.  During that period, essential public services such as electricity, water and garbage collection fell into disarray, while property-tax revenue stagnated.  Upset by collapsing public infrastructure, civil society groups began to demand broad reform of Bangalore's public agencies, many of which had a monopoly on the goods and services they provided.  In 1999...
  • 2009 Rohan Mukherjee
    Nitish Kumar was elected chief minister of Bihar, India's poorest state, in December 2005, when the state's government was weighed down by two decades of institutional decline, widespread lawlessness and a society deeply divided by caste and religion.  To win the election and to implement his reform agenda, he engineered a grand bargain whereby almost every distinct social group had a share in state-sponsored development.  This paved the way for more fundamental reforms in law and order, administration and infrastructure.  Although Bihar's more intractable issues...
  • 2010 Daniel Scher
    In the wake of the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan Patriotic Front inherited the remnants of a highly centralized state administration.  For a number of years the government engaged in crisis management, attempting to meet the basic needs of a traumatized population.  In 2000, in an effort to improve local service delivery, the RPF-led government began a program of decentralization.  Under the new arrangement, mayors were responsible for implementing development programs.  A chief concern for the central government was how to make mayors accountable.  In response to this...