administration of inflexible and centralized state organizations that often overlook individual communities in the name of administrative rationality.
Second, how much variation is there in mechanisms of distribution and implementation of CDFs? For example, will a good practice toolbox for Papua New Guinea’s EDFs4 also apply to the CDF in Kenya, the CDF in Jamaica, the CDG5 in Bhutan and the MPLADS in India? To what extent do politicians, administrators and constituencies in each of these places accord similar meaning to each of these funding mechanisms? How essential to a CDF is the precise locus of decision making authority, the entity that controls the administration of the fund, the means of disbursement of funds to MPs, the type of allowable projects, the entities responsible for oversight, to list only a few such questions. In other words, which elements are central and which elements are peripheral to the definition of a CDF? 6
In this vein, it was not clear whether the “system” of earmarks and pork barrel distribution that is practiced in US national and state government is of a single type with CDFs. It is true that the long history of distributive politics in the US permits a unique opportunity to explore the evolution of systems of politically determined resource allocation for local development. On the other hand, there may be a fundamental difference between US earmarks, which are often informal mechanisms that are employed on a case-by-case basis and the institutionalization of distributive mechanisms that become part of the annual budget process as appears to be the case with CDFs. Furthermore, a form of US “soft core pork” masked as tax legislation and tax exemptions are very hard to trace. A bill might be drafted that exempts companies and other entities from paying certain taxes, which is usually not recognized as pork. An equally interesting issue is the identification of CDFs in economically advanced systems with constituency-based politics, such as in the UK.
Finally, the almost exclusive emergence of CDF-like institutions in Westminster systems with clear constituencies in first-past-the-post plurality/majority electoral systems raised the question of whether CDFs can serve as a compensation for the parliament’s inability to amend the budget in these systems. It may also be the case that, unlike the earmarks or pork in presidential systems, CDFs are not subject to internal political wrangling but are institutionalized in the annual budget process and cut across party lines and over the objections of the executive. So if CDFs represent a type of responsive politics and administration, it remains to codify a compelling typology that would allow policy makers and researchers to identify its significant attributes that can be leveraged for equitable and effective policy making.
Policymaking on CDFs
Because the emergence of CDFs makes available substantial political resources to be employed in development, the universe of policy makers on CDFs is potentially quite
4 5 6
Electoral Development Funds Constituency Development Grant Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme