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Making Sense of Governance: Empirical Evidence from Sixteen Developing Countries

Goran Hyden, Julius Court, and Kenneth Mease
Making Sense of Governance: Empirical Evidence from Sixteen Developing Countries
ISBN: 978-1-58826-267-7
2004/262 pages/LC: 2004003784

"Unusual and intriguing.... a provocative and worthwhile book." —Pádraig Carmody, Perspectives on Politics

"This is a very good, interesting and useful book."—Adrian Leftwich, Development Policy Review

"Comparative scholars and development policy makers and practitioners dare not ignore [this book]."—Choice

"This pioneering effort to measure critical processes of governance is an outstanding contribution, clearly demonstrating the usefulness of the concept of governance for the comparative studies of politics."— G.Shabbir Cheema, United Nations

"Making Sense of Governance demonstrates the analytical power of the ‘governance' concept and offers remarkable illumination on the variation in performance of a wide range of developing countries." —M. Crawford Young, University of Wisconsin

"This important book shows clearly that an analysis of governance is essential to our understanding of the processes of democratization and sustainable development."—Dennis Galvan, University of Oregon


Although governance has been the focus of a considerable body of literature on democratic transitions and consolidation, data to support the claim that the concept is a useful one has been lacking. Now, however, Making Sense of Governance clearly shows the utility of research on governance, presenting empirical evidence from sixteen developing countries.

The authors focus on six arenas: civil, political, and economic society and the executive, bureaucracy, and judiciary. Demonstrating conclusively for the first time that perceptions of governance by local stakeholders are realistic indicators of the nature and quality of a political regime, they also reveal the dynamic nature of governance and to what extent it correlates with socioeconomic variables.

This comprehensive study is based on interviews in Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand, and Togo.


Goran Hyden is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. His many publications include, most recently, Development and Democracy: What Have We Learned and How? and Media and Democracy in Africa. He is coeditor (with Michael Bratton) of the seminal Governance and Politics in Africa. Julius Court is research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, London. He is coauthor of Governing Globalization: New Roles and Functions for the UN and bretton Woods Institutions. Kenneth Mease is in the research faculty of the Department of Economics at the University of Florida. He served for two years as senior adviser to the UN University's World Governance Assessment project.


  • Introduction.
  • Governance, Democracy, and Development.
  • Governance Performance: The Aggregate Picture.
  • Civil Society.
  • Political Society.
  • Government.
  • The Bureaucracy.
  • Economic Society.
  • The Judiciary.
  • Conclusions.
  • Appendixes.
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