Good enough governance revisited

Development Policy26 Sep 2007The Broker

The latest issue of Development Policy Review features an article by Merilee Grindle: ‘Good enough governance revisited: Poverty reduction and reform in developing countries’. Grindle, professor of international development and director of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, reconsiders her own concept of ‘good enough governance’, which she introduced in 2004. Criticizing the fact that good governance implies a very long list of conditions that should be met, she suggests drawing up some ‘minimal conditions of governance necessary to allow political and economic development to occur’.

The next step is to decide how to do that, since the concept of good enough governance is ‘not sufficient for guiding practice’. Following a review of the recent literature on good governance, the different definitions put forward by development agencies and academics, and some case studies, she presents ‘a strategy to bridge the gap between what can be learned from research and decisions that must be made in the real world’. Faced with limited resources, and human and organizational capacities, practitioners need to find the best ways to move towards better governance. She suggests that it is possible to assess the feasibility of proposed reforms, and presents a framework for analyzing the context for change, and the implications of the content of an intervention.


Merilee S. Grindle (2007) Good enough governance revisited: Poverty reduction and reform in developing countries, Development Policy Review 25(5): 553-574 (free download).

For different states different ‘governance priorities’ are necessary.

Note: P = priority.
Source: Grindle (2007), p.565