Institutional Anchorage: How-To Facilitate the Sustainability of Reform Interventions
Posted: 21 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 20, 2011
The sustainability of development-enhancing institutional reform interventions is a desirable but rarely automatic or self-perpetuating objective. More often, it is the product of accumulated intended and unintended decisions made by multiple stakeholders over many years (Thelen and Mahoney 2010). This paper argues, however, that pro-reform stakeholders can facilitate the resilience of their interventions by proactively anchoring them institutionally. In reshuffling the balance of power between winners and loser of reforms over time, institutional anchorage ensures that development-enhancing reform will become sustainable in the long-run. Institutional anchorage increases the political benefits of sustaining effective reform interventions and decreases (over time) the political costs of sustaining them. By contrast, all other things being equal, reforms become reversible when pro-reform actors (and coalitions) and winners of the first round of reform, cannot increase (over time) the political benefits of sustaining effective intervention and are not able to decrease (over time) the political costs of sustaining them.
Drawing on the social science literature, the paper identifies a series of tactics associated with efforts to achieve institutional anchorage. These tactics are illustrated with concrete examples of sustainable and reversible reform interventions in the developing world.
Keywords: Institutional Change, Development, Reforms, Sustainability
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