contributed to a system of political competition in where candidates are measured, in part, on their effective employment of CDF allocations.
This perception raises the empirical question of whether the employment of CDFs carries with it an electoral payoff and helps to return incumbents to office. Do CDFs have an impact on turnover within the parliament? How will high legislator turnover or incumbency affect the way a CDF is employed? Do CDFs act as a measure of MP effectiveness by setting voters’ expectations? How do MPs change their behavior on non-CDF issues in response to their perception that their seat is safe? Do CDFs privilege some business or contractors over others? Against this background, it is important to ensure that CSOs be included as part of a political calculus of policy making, especially when they represent vehicles to include constituencies, stakeholders and groups that are often cut out of the policy process. The participants of the Albany workshop looked forward to including representatives from NGOs and CSOs into the larger project as it moves forward.
Conclusions: Next Steps in SUNY/CID’s Project on CDFs
The workshop succeeded in confirming several points. First, CDFs are becoming increasingly significant tools of politicized and decentralized resource allocation in developing countries. They are popular (even in the US!) in the face of a donor community that continues to prefer traditional development that is driven by central governments in a manner that resembles “rationality” in economically advanced and powerful nations. The CDFs are quickly evolving and emerging as increasingly important development tools. Their popularity may stem from their performance of a function not otherwise supplied by the existing administrative-political system. As in the case of earmarks in the US, CDFs could fill the holes for things that fall between the cracks. The enormous potential for abuse in the operations of CDFs creates a significant challenge for policy makers and scholars to devise norms, rules and procedures for the effective operation of these increasingly important policy tools.
Second, SUNY/CID’s two-year project on CDFs is taking up the challenge of expanding the base of information on the emergence and evolution of CDFs in order to develop a ‘tool kit’ for policymakers containing suggested norms, rules, procedures and templates that can be studied and adapted to different settings. Such a tool kit will contribute to the increasing effectiveness of this politicized and participatory development administration in a manner that can genuinely help strengthen the responsiveness of government to the real needs of individuals and groups in their own communities.
Third, SUNY/CID’s project will commission a set of case studies and other research that will systematically explore the development and operations of CDFs internationally. It will identify a set of lessons learned and good practices as early steps in developing the tool box. It will cooperate with its partners from the CPA, the WBI, NDI, UNDP, etc. in study groups, workshops and a major international conference that will order to build a compelling list of organizations. CID will explore the feasibility of employing Field