Poverty reduction has come to be proclaimed as the core function of international development agencies, including the World Bank. This book focuses on a notion, borrowed from public sector management generally, of best practice, and the key role which it can potentially play in strengthening anti-poverty strategies.
The authors of this book, all of them experienced researchers from both developed and developing countries, believe that considerable intellectual work is required to transform best practice from being an impressionistic designation of 'success stories' into a more precise analytical tool which can reliably contribute to poverty reduction. They seek a more systematic approach to understanding how to identify a particular practice or experience as constituting best practice. They explore the social and organizational factors influencing the transition of an ordinary particular anti-poverty project or strategy into becoming established as best practice. And they examine the critical policy-relevant aspect of the conditions under which a best practice, once identified, and embedded as it is in a social setting, can be successfully transferred to other situations and countries.
This volume is the first attempt to take the concept of best practice out of its highly politicized and applied context, and to treat it as a scientific tool that can seriously add to the toolbox needed for improved comprehension of the many failures in poverty reduction.