Comments for Data, Learning & Action for Open Governance Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:09:15 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Open Aid, Open Societies, But Not Much Politics by Andrew Mandelbaum Thu, 08 Feb 2018 14:09:15 +0000 Your point on “other agendas” is important. DFID published a tender for e-Procurement a few months ago that did not mention the Open Contracting, one of the international standards highlighted in the strategy. While it’s possible that the winning bidder will include OCDS in its approach, the lack of explicit mention of Open Contracting suggested siloing within DFID that could eventually reduce the effectiveness of the implementation of this strategy.

Comment on Learning and Power: Or, whose learning and adaptation counts? by Cashin Yiu Fri, 08 Dec 2017 19:18:04 +0000 ***This comment comes in from our medium post from user Jindra Cekan, PhD ( and is copied in its entirety here.***

Terrific article, “learning processes that can enable country-level actors — the actors who really understand the context and are best-placed to drive effective and sustainable reforms — to navigate and shape the political dynamics and incentives around locally-prioritized problems” and “whose adaptation really counts”, Alan! Absolutely. While we too often come with solutions that they need to use for success as we define it, what tends to be most sustained is what solutions to problems they can continue to address with their own resources, now that ours have gone home. Many thanks!

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Comment on Costing Open Government Reforms: What About the Politics? by Cashin Yiu Tue, 14 Nov 2017 14:42:56 +0000 ***This comment comes in from our Medium post from user Maya Forstater ( and is copied in its entirety here***

Hi Alan,
I share your enthusiasm (for paying more attention to the costs, benefits and impact pathways of transparency and open governance initiatives), and your scepticism (that the detailed, direct costings are the most interesting place to look).

The direct, administrative costs of open gov initiatives I would have thought will always be fairly small (compared to building a bridge, say) and will tend to come down with technology — but these direct costs are not necessarily the most important driver, or barrier to the impact of open governance initiatives.

It may be more helpful to think about indirect costs & losses on one hand and the gains on the other, from shifting any particular area of deliberation and decision making out of relative privacy into greater transparency. On whom do these costs and benefits fall, and are they enough to mobilise people either for or against the initiative? What are the incentives for the actors involved to act differently and how — officials, politicians, regulators, journalists, private contractors, competitors, citizens? As you highlight: politics.

And then I think the really important question is whether and how the costs/benefits of transparency/open governance initiatives can be non zero-sum — do they simply result in decision making being weighted in a way that transfers resources from one group to another? (which can be important, but is limited) or can they support a change in the effectiveness of organisations, and networks in solving problems and creating wealth? Perhaps this last set of questions is too difficult to answer up front(certainly it does not fit into the kind of accounting framework suggested by the costing initiative) — but when we look back on the invention of movable type, or the internet, or the secret ballot, or the joint-stock company or any other ‘social technology’ which changed the world understanding the detailed breakdown of initial set-up costs seem less significant than tracing the pathways of change that they set off.

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Comment on Recap: How China Escaped the Poverty Trap by Alan Hudson Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:57:43 +0000 Duncan Green’s review of Yuen Yuen Ang’s book, and the comments on his review, are well worth reading. They include a question from me – and a helpful response from Yuen – about the absence of citizen action from Yuen’s account and whether her analysis implies that democracy and rights can/should be marginalized or postponed.

Comment on Harnessing Weak Institutions to Build Markets (Guest post by Professor Yuen Yuen Ang) by ltlee Fri, 08 Sep 2017 21:21:16 +0000 So a third guru told the beggar, “Harnessing Weak Institutions to Build Markets.”
The beggar thanked the guru and then rob several people of their money, he paid off the policeman with some of the money (harnessing weak institution). And used the rest to buy some goods and set himself up a stall selling things.

This is certainly how UK got rich by exploiting colonial subjects. Is this how China’s billion people escape poverty? Sorry, but I don’t get it.

Comment on Call for Contributors in Africa/Appel à Contributeurs en Afrique by Johannes Tonn Wed, 05 Jul 2017 18:59:59 +0000 Thanks and yes – we are aware of the great work I Watch is doing. Thanks!

Comment on Call for Contributors in Africa/Appel à Contributeurs en Afrique by jobeir boubaker Sat, 01 Jul 2017 00:30:51 +0000 GREETINGS FROM TUNISIA
i was wondering after the publication of the INDABA PROJECT if that was it …
but i had the strong feeling that we RESEARCHER REVIEWERS and PEER REVIEWERS
would be called for duty once more.
one may ask what causes all the disorder leading in some places to an unacceptable amount of abuse and violence
so tackling multilevel corruption enhancing tranparency and accountability would hopefully give the african youth a sens of justice and trigger that motivation essential for developement and progress. to i have here tobring up the great work the team of I WATCH ORGANISATION tunisian branch for instanceis doing and some success is achieved not later than today///

Comment on Stepping Up Our Own Financial Transparency by scott Wed, 21 Jun 2017 20:52:00 +0000 Hi Till – thanks for the feedback and recommendation. Would you happen to have a contact at On Think Tanks who you could connect me with? We’d be happy to reach out.

Comment on Stepping Up Our Own Financial Transparency by Till Bruckner Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:31:33 +0000 Well done Global Integrity! You should contact On Think Tanks and ask them whether they’d like to repost your blog on their site, many other think tanks will be interested in learning about this innovation.

Comment on The Value of Open Governance: Adaptive learning and development by Alan Hudson Tue, 22 Mar 2016 14:08:32 +0000 Yep, exploring who learns, about what, how, where and when is super-important. This was something that I was keen to push on at the TALEARN event in November to get past a situation where everyone’s talking about learning, but meaning somewhat different and unspecified things. It’s also something which Craig Valters’ work and that of the Asia Foundation is very helpful on.

Here’s my piece from TALEARN

Here’s an excellent piece by Craig Valters

And an awesome piece on “strategy testing” by Debra Ladner, with the Asia Foundation