Transnational actors and anti-poverty policymaking in Ghana : An ideational perspective

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Institution: University of Saskatchewan
Year: 2015
Keywords: Transnational actors; Ghana; Poverty; Ideational; Policymaking
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2063613
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10388/ETD-2016-06-2257


The influence of transnational actors (TNAs) on the policy process in most sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries is widely acknowledged. Yet, studies examining this phenomenon focus mainly on the imposition of policy conditionality and under explore other mechanisms such as ideational processes, which mediate the relationship between national and transnational actors. Focusing on two poverty alleviation policies implemented in Ghana – Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), and Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) –, this study draws on the Transnational Policy Process (TPP) Framework to explore the ideational mechanisms that were instrumental in the development of these two social policies. In order to do so, qualitative case study research methods involving interviews and document reviews are used. This thesis argues that policymaking is multi-causal, which means that focusing exclusively on conditionalities without accounting for the role of ideational and other factors obscure our understanding of the policy process in developing countries. By examining the policy process in Ghana, this study ascertains that, beyond imposition of policies through conditionalities, TNAs also deploy other mechanisms that are mainly ideational in nature. Ideational channels include conferences, field trips, technical cooperation, training and capacity building, as well as collaboration with civil society organizations. Beyond these, TNAs use their memberships in policy structures, such as Ghana’s cross-sectoral planning groups (CSPGs) and sector working groups (SWGs) as a crucial platform to purvey policy innovations. Additionally, in some cases, the mechanisms are also coupled to improve effectiveness. The study also shows the mediating role of national institutions and contexts more generally, a role that makes the adoption of new policy ideas a necessary part of the policy process. Moreover, there is an indication that using ideational mechanisms promotes a sense of policy ownership among national policymakers who actively participate in shaping policies in partnership with transnational actors. Advisors/Committee Members: Béland, Daniel (advisor), Elabor-Idemudia, Patience (committeeMember), Zhang, Lihui (committeeMember), Rayner, Jeremy (committeeMember).