Governance and Development Management research group

Analysing the nature and process of governance at multiple levels and within diverse sectors is a cross-cutting theme of much of IDD’s research and is integral to research in the broad area of development management. Investigating the roles of different actors, their interactions and relationships, in efforts to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty is at the heart of much of IDD’s research.

The key areas within this theme include: 

Provision of basic services

IDD’s research on service delivery since 2004 has focused on the question of ‘non-state providers’ and their relations with government or, more broadly, the state. By non-state providers (NSPs), we mean the large commercial sector, small-scale family enterprises, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community organizations, and faith-based organizations (FBOs).

The services covered in this research are those that are most important to the fulfilment of the Millennium Development Goals: primary health care, basic education, drinking water and sanitation.

Responsibility for the delivery of these basic public services is often unclear and, in most developing countries, contended between government and non-state providers of services. Most non-state provision is independent of government, but there has been a strong policy trend to support collaboration. However, when governments and NSPs seek to collaborate, they frequently run up against different views about public services and how they should be provided.

Current and recent work in this area includes:

More information on these projects can be found here: Provision of Basic Services (2004 - 11)

Governance of the environment and natural resources

Natural resources and the environment are fundamental for development and poverty reduction in the South. Very often, however, benefits for national and local development from natural resource use are far lower than could be experienced, largely due to inappropriate or ineffective governance. IDD’s research on the environment and natural resources focuses on these governance concerns, from exploring coastal ecosystem services and poverty reduction to analysing the effectiveness of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. Research is also being undertaken into the organisational arrangements for environmental and climate change mainstreaming in governments.

IDD works closely with the Environmental Politics Research Group of the Political Science and International Studies department, the Business School's Environmental and Energy Economics and Management Research Cluster, and is part of the University's Centre for Environmental Research and Training (CERT).

IDD also has extensive research experience on the livelihoods and governance dimensions of peri-urban natural resource management, land tenure, poverty-environment relationships and solid waste management in developing countries.

Current and recent work in this area includes:

Donor-state relationships and aid management

Building on past research on donor-state relations and aid management, IDD’s recent research focuses on the incentives and disincentives for non-traditional donors to adhere to International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) categorisation and code of conduct and, in the wake of such non binding IATI or OECD-DAC standards, what challenges and opportunities such donors bring to the IATI.

Current and recent projects include:


Researchers in this group have won funding from the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the European Commission and the ESRC/NERC/DFID Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation programme, among others.

Current projects

  • Swahili Seas (2011-2012) ESRC/NERC/DFID Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation: Dr Fiona Nunan
  • A future for aid data (2010-2011): research towards a south-south cooperation data categorization to complement ongoing IATI categorizations, DFID funded research under ‘The Future of Aid and Beyond’: Dr Michael Hubbard and Pranay Sinha
  • Anti-Corruption Concept Note (2010-2011): research designed to inform European Commission staff supporting anti-corruption reform in partner countries of the latest thinking in corruption research and policy, particularly concerned with measuring corruption and assessing anti-corruption: Dr Heather Marquette and Sumedh Rao
  • Addressing Corruption in Performance Assessment Frameworks: Indicators, Approaches and Opportunities (2011): research for U4/CMI: Dr Heather Marquette and Sumedh Rao
  • ESCR Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011-2012): Role of donors in Uganda’s 2011 election: Dr Jonathan Fisher