Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 11/2014

Beyond Magic Bullets in Governance Reform

Diane De Gramont

November 2014

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Domestic reformers and external donors have invested enormous energy and resources into improving governance in developing countries since the 1990s. Yet there is still remarkably little understanding of how governance progress actually occurs in these contexts. Reform strategies that work well in some places often prove disappointing elsewhere. A close examination of governance successes in the developing world indicates that effective advocacy must move beyond a search for single-focus “magic bullet” solutions toward an integrated approach that recognizes multiple interrelated drivers of governance change.