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Global Development Institute

State-society relations

We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers involved in exploring the role of state-society relations in development.

Our research and wider activities are focused on a diversity of themes including the politics of development; the role of NGOs and social movements in fostering development alternatives; how economic governance shapes development trajectories; and the relationship between conflict, governance and development dynamics.

Current projects

Effective states and inclusive development research centre

Funded by: UK Department for International Development, (DFID)

  • CEO: David Hulme
  • Research Directors: Professor Sam Hickey and Professor Kunal Sen,
  • Associate researchers: Professor Diana Mitlin, Dr Antonio Savoia, Dr Pablo Yanguas
  • PhD students: Kojo Asante, Kate Pruce, Matt Tyce

This research programme consortium will investigate the politics of different routes towards social justice, with a particular focus on identifying practical ways in which developmental forms of state capacity and state-society relations can be strengthened.

It will focus on the politics of what works in specific policy areas, chosen from growth and employment, basic services, social protection, access to justice and natural resource governance, but also look more broadly at how developmental states emerge and might be promoted. Total funding: £6.25 million.

Effective states and inclusive development research centre

Economic and Social Research Council/UK Department for International Development, (DFID)

Professor Sam Hickey

The main objective of this research is to provide an understanding of how poverty-reducing forms of state capacity and elite commitment emerge in the form of ‘pockets of effectiveness'  in sub-Saharan Africa. This will involve examining a range of high-performing government agencies and tracing the institutional and political conditions through which they have emerged and been sustained in four African countries: Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.



Other academic members

Current PGR membership

  • Ishmael Ayanoore
  • Kojo Asante
  • Corinna Braun-Munzinger
  • Jemima Clarke
  • Ana Dos Santos Ganho
  • Eyob Gebremariam
  • Jessica Hawkins
  • Christopher Lyon
  • Carlos Morel
  • Kate Pruce
  • Helen Underhill
  • Matt Tyce
  • Asieh Yousefnejad Shomali
  • Bala Yusuf