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This book explains how groups of people can cooperate to bring about policy change, particularly in development. The book's strength is its clear explanation of the categories of political economy. In particular, the book identifies the incentives of politicians and bureaucrats that sometimes get in the way of stated reform goals. But this is not just a dry text listing abstract concepts. The authors draw on their rich experience at the World Bank to provide examples of reform efforts from around the world, with particular attention given to non-Western contexts.
The book shines light on why the interests of the few and well-connected sometimes prevail over the interests of the many. It turns out that political institutions can be designed to either favor the few or well connected, or better represent the majority, and the authors provide clues about how to recognize the former and achieve the latter. The book's examples of participatory budgeting, procurement reform, and infrastructure projects are particularly strong.
Overall, I recommend this book for practitioners undertaking reform, seasoned scholars in the field looking or new examples, and policy and international development students looking for a good grounding in the field. I will reference this book in my classes.
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