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Democracy and poverty reduction strategies in the Latin American heavily indebted poor countries, 1999-2006
Hunt, Sarah Jane.
This thesis is about the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) approach and its implementation in three Latin American countries, Bolivia, Honduras and Nicaragua. The PRS approach emerged in response to international campaigns around debt relief and international convergence around poverty reduction objectives. The approach implied a role for the state in coordinating poverty reduction interventions, and a role for civil society to participate in these processes, through the principles of ownership and participation. This study engages with the extensive literature on the PRS process in Latin America and assesses the extent to which it offers an adequate account of how donor practices, based on a certain set of theoretical assumptions about the state and civil society, affected outcomes, and whether the impact of politics within these three case study countries is adequately captured. To address this research agenda, this thesis offers a multi-layered analysis to complement top-down approaches with state-centred, political, and bottom-up explanations for change in the region. Combining this analytical approach with comparative insights of the experiences in the three cases offers a unique perspective on the PRS experience. The study examines the implementation of neoliberal reform prior to the PRS approach, highlighting how it shaped politics and society, but also how neoliberalism was contested to set the context. Examining the PRS processes, the study concludes that in part, the disappointing outcomes in these three cases can be attributed to donor actions, and in particular to the incoherence and inconsistency of the theoretical understandings that informed implementation of this approach. However, the study also finds important limits to donor influence in each case and highlights how entrenched political dynamics, weak state capacity and limitations to the capacity of civil society to deliver change particular to each case ultimately determined the trajectory and ‘death’ of the PRS processes. The contribution of this study lies in the multi-level analysis that recognises the particular structural features of the Latin American region, the evolution of the state and the nature of civil society in each case. The findings contribute to broad debates around aid policy and its evaluation, but also highlight key features of the state, of civil society, and of their respective roles in development and democracy. In sum, this study reinforces the importance of agency, and of examining the contingency of political and institutional configurations for explaining change.
Keyword(s): poverty reduction strategy; Bolivia; Honduras; Nicaragua
Publication Date:
2011
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: University of Limerick
Publisher(s): University of Limerick
Supervisor(s): Kirby, Peadar
First Indexed: 2012-02-09 05:28:37 Last Updated: 2015-11-04 05:32:31