NOPOOR - States and Political Systems

part of the NOPOOR project

Research Objectives:

The objectives of this project are as follows:

Understand the link between poverty and political institutions

  • Provide a new detailed measure of the quality of elections
  • Understand the determinants of political accountability and State legitimacy
  • Analyse the role and building of local governance in developing countries
  • Determine strategies for supporting the building of pro-poor political institutions

With sometimes different approaches and data, political scientists and economists all show the importance of well-functioning economic and political institutions in explaining development. Almost all developing countries now hold elections, despite sometimes ill-functioning political institutions. This project is based on case studies, comparative analyses and cross-country analyses. The case studies will cover most continents and draw on the experiences of the richer developing countries to understand the issues faced by the poorest countries.


This CSAE project 'States and Political Systems' is known to NOPOOR as Work Package 8 (WP8) of the NOPOOR Project of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.

NOPOOR aims to build new knowledge on the nature and extent of poverty in developing countries, to provide policymakers with a broader understanding of poverty. It is not just a picture of poverty, but also an understanding of poverty entry and exit processes that is needed for achieving Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and for making the policies more effective.

Nineteen experienced partners are involved in the project, which includes ten teams from developing and emerging countries in three regions (Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia). These countries have implemented different poverty reduction policies, and this will form the basis for the comparative and case studies approach taken.

The project will identify key mechanisms that explain the persistence and exacerbation of poverty, which have been altered by the insertion of developing countries into the globalization process, including trade, aid, FDI and migration, and by the growing interdependence of economies. As causes may differ between countries, so policies and actions to be tailored to each poor country's characteristics, including their access to resources, political regime, quality of institutions and governance. These points are developed by various approaches, including political economics, and different methods: surveys, econometric studies and case studies.

NOPOOR will put significant resources into generating new knowledge from original surveys, database work and qualitative work. It will also look forward to future scenarios. Conclusions will be oriented to policy recommendations. Beyond this contribution to scientific knowledge, NOPOOR will pursue an active policy of dissemination and capacity building, including training of young Southern researchers and the implementation of a permanent network with National Institutes of Statistics (NIS).

The project is policy-oriented. NOPOOR will accompany the EU's agenda for its policy against poverty by consultations, guidance notes, and policy briefs on issues relating to the program. The review of MDG will constitute an important point of focus in the future years.



Anke Hoeffler, CSAE