Governance, rights and the demand for democracy: Evidence from Bangladesh

Ipshita Basu, Graham K. Brown, Joe Devine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Over the last 20 years, interest in good governance has progressively become more intense and focused. In part this reflects a conviction shared by academics, policy makers and practitioners that good governance can positively influence a range of key issues including poverty reduction, economic growth, the efficiency of service provision, the impact and effectiveness of development programmes and the building of more inclusive societies (Kaufmann et al. 1999, 2002; McGillivray et al. 2005). Conversely, poor quality governance is considered a barrier or hindrance to growth and wellbeing, and an incubator for corruption, violation of rights, discrimination, violence and disorder. At least this is how the theory goes. However – and not for the first time in its history – the experience of Bangladesh appears as something of a paradox when looked at from a less normative perspective. Of late therefore it has become almost a truism to note and then question the co-existence of two informed observations about modern Bangladesh. On the one hand, the country has made significant and consistent progress in socio-economic terms. It has thus enjoyed steady and prolonged macro-economic growth rates, fuelled by manufacture and remittance growth; made significant progress in relation to many of the MDG targets; and reduced the proportion of the population in poverty from 40 per cent in 2005 to 31.5 per cent in 2010 (BBS 2011; World Bank 2013). On the other hand, Bangladesh’s performance in governance terms has been poor, epitomised in its classification by Transparency International for five successive years (2001–2005) as the world’s most corrupt country. The co-existence of poor governance with successful growth and poverty reduction raises many questions and puts some core development assumptions to the test. Where some might see paradox in all of this, others may see collision. At a minimum, the post-1990 history of Bangladesh tells us that the two observations are not mutually exclusive.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitics and Governance in Bangladesh
Subtitle of host publicationUncertain Landscapes
EditorsIpshita Basu, Joe Devine, Geof Wood
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781315201337
ISBN (Print)9781138707610
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in South Asian Politics


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