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The politics of implementation: The role of traditional authorities in delivering social policies to poor people in Kenya

  • The article contributes to understanding the political economy of implementation of social protection programmes at local level. Current debates are dominated by technocratic arguments, emphasizing the lack of financial resources, technology or skills as major barriers for effective implementation. Describing how chiefs, assistant-chiefs and community elders are routinely at the centre stage of core implementation processes, including targeting, enrolment, delivery, monitoring, awareness and information, data collection or grievance and redress, this study on Kenya argues for the need to look more closely into the local political economy as an important mediating arena for implementing social policies. Implementation is heavily contingent upon the local social, political and institutional context that influences and shapes its outcomes. These processes are ambivalent involving multiple forms of interactions between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ institutional structures, which may support initial policy objectives or induce policy outcomes substantially diverging from intended policy objectives.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Barbara Rohregger, Katja Bender, Bethuel Kinyanjui Kinuthia, Esther Schüring, Grace Ikua, Nicky Pouw
Parent Title (English):Critical Social Policy
First Page:404
Last Page:425
Publisher:SAGE Publications
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2021/05/02
Copyright:© The Author(s) 2021. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License
Funding Information:The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This article is based on a comparative research project on social policies and inclusive growth in Kenya and Ghana. It was supported by funding of the NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development Framework, through the INCLUDE knowledge platform ‘Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa’ research programme (W08.390.004).
Keyword:Kenya; informal institutions; local context; political economy; social protection
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Fachbereich Sozialpolitik und Soziale Sicherung
Internationales Zentrum für Nachhaltige Entwicklung (IZNE)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):3 Sozialwissenschaften / 36 Soziale Probleme, Sozialdienste / 361 Soziale Probleme und Sozialhilfe im Allgemeinen
Open access funding:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg / Hochschul- und Kreisbibliothek / Open Access Transformationsverträge / Sage 2021
Entry in this database:2021/05/05
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY-NC - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell 4.0 International