1st Edition

Rethinking World Bank Influence Governance Reforms and the Ritual Aid Dance in Indonesia

By D. Brent Edwards Jr. Copyright 2023
    294 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Why is it so hard for international development organizations—even ones as well-resourced and influential as the World Bank—to generate and sustain change in the way things are done in those countries where they work? Despite what, in many cases, is decades of investment and effort, why do partner governments continue to engage in those traditional patterns and styles of public service management that international development organizations have sought to supplant with methods that are supposedly more accountable, efficient, and effective? This book provides an answer to these questions. However, rather than pathologizing partner governments as the source of the problem—that is, rather than maintaining the distinction between doctor (international development organizations) and patient (partner governments), wherein the patient is seen as unwilling to take their medicine (enacting "good governance" practices)—this book instead reframes the relationship.

    The central argument is, first, that the programs and projects of international organizations are introduced into and are constrained by multiple layers of ritual governance, that is, performative acts and cultural logics that intersect with and reinforce the political, economic, and social structures in and through which they operate. As is shown, the contextual factors that guide governance practices are largely beyond the reach of the international development organizations; the relevant logics have their roots in state ideology but also extend back to the colonial logics that continue to operate at the heart of the state apparatus.

    The second the central argument is that international aid organizations and the governments with which they work are engaged in a "ritual aid dance" where each actor plays a part but does not (and cannot) acknowledge the ways that it depends on the other for its own gain. This relationship can be considered a dance because each participant responds to and needs the other, and because both sides do so in ways that are carefully choreographed, with the overall trajectory or contours of the dance being more or less known to the participants.

    These arguments are based on research on the World Bank’s efforts over the course of several decades to encourage, through its financing, projects, and technical assistance, the implementation of social sector reform in Indonesia related to decentralization, community participation, and school-based management.


    Chapter 1. The World Bank and Social Sector Reform: An Introduction to Ritual Governance and the Ritual Aid Dance

    D. Brent Edwards Jr.


    The Contributions of this Book

    Common Approaches to Conceptualizing and Researching the World Bank Decentralization, Governance, and International Development

    Governance Reforms and World Bank Influence in Indonesia


    Structure of the Book


    Chapter 2. Explaining Global-Local Policy Change and Implementation: The Political Economy of Reform in Realist, Systems, and Anthropological Perspective

    D. Brent Edwards Jr.


    Political Economy Approaches

    A Realist Perspective

    A Systems Perspective

    An Anthropological Perspective

    Summary of Considerations


    Chapter 3. Participation in Development and Education Governance: World Bank Thinking, Frameworks, and Results

    D. Brent Edwards Jr.



    The World Bank’s Approach to Development and the Trajectory of Participation

    The Framework for Service Provision

    Participation and Education Governance: The Origins and Feature of Community-Based Management

    Shifts in Participation in Education Governance

    Results of World Bank-Supported Participation Reforms in Education



    Chapter 4. Context and Origins of Community-Driven Development in Indonesia

    D. Brent Edwards Jr. & Inga Storen

    The Context of Indonesia: Key Features in the Post-WWII Period

    The Origins of Indonesia’s Governance Reforms

    Rural Community-Driven Development: The IDT, VIP and KDP Programs



    Chapter 5. The Asian Financial Crisis: Entrenching and Scaling-up Community-Driven Development Reforms

    D. Brent Edwards Jr. & Inga Storen


    Social Safety Nets in Education

    International Donor Influence and the Asian Financial Crisis

    The Changing role of the World Bank Relationship amidst the Push for Decentralization

    and Increasing Government Budgets

    Post-Asian Financial Crisis Decentralization Legal Reforms

    Post-Crisis Community-Driven Development

    PNPM Funding



    Chapter 6. The World Bank and Education Governance in Indonesia: Influence around and beyond School-Based Management

    D. Brent Edwards Jr. & Inga Storen


    Junior Secondary Education Projects (1996-2004)

    Basic Education Projects (1998-2006)

    Scholarships and Grant Program (1998-2003)

    The Government’s SBM Approach: BOS Program (2005-Present)

    Basic Education Capacity Project-Recipient Executed (2007-2012)

    BOS Knowledge Improvement for Transparency and Accountability (2008-2012)

    Concluding Remarks: Recapping the Trajectory of Education Governance Reforms


    Chapter 7. Educational Decentralization: Dominant Rationales, Key Characteristics, and Early Examples

    D. Brent Edwards Jr., Marilyn Hillarious, Mark McCormick, & Dewi Setiani


    Educational Decentralization in Indonesia: Motivations and Logics

    Key Characteristics of the "Big Bang" Decentralization Reforms

    The Local Curriculum Content Initiative

    The Social Safety Net Program


    Chapter 8. School-Based Management through Block Grants: Policy and Practice

    D. Brent Edwards Jr., Dewi Setiani, Mark McCormick, & Marilyn Hillarious


    The Combination of School-based Management and School Operational Block Grants: Key Characteristics

    The Experience of SBM via BOS in Practice

    Outcomes of SBM under BOS

    Explaining the Challenges to SBM and BOS in Practice


    Chapter 9. Educational Decentralization from the Central to the Village Level

    D. Brent Edwards Jr. & Marilyn Hillarious


    Administrative Levels in Indonesia: A Recap

    Decentralization Plans from the Central to the Provincial (Regency) and District levels

    The Politics of Letting Go—Or Not

    Provincial and District Dynamics in Practice

    Decentralization and System Financing



    Chapter 10. Reconsidering Decentralization: A Systems Perspective

    D. Brent Edwards Jr., Marilyn Hillarious, & Inga Storen


    Institutional Framework and Political Motivations: Initial Considerations

    Management and Coordination of Institutional Resources across Levels of Government

    The Cultural Politics of Service Standards

    District- and Village-level Institutional Capacity and Institutional Frameworks

    The Political Dimension of Institutional Capacity and Institutional Resources at the Provincial and District Levels

    Factors Affecting Community Participation and Local-level Accountability

    Cultures of Corruption and Elite Control

    Chapter 11. Reconsidering Social Sector Reform: Ritual Governance

    D. Brent Edwards Jr


    Political Reflections

    Institutional Reflections

    The Salience and Question of Cultural Norms

    State Ideology

    Ritual Governance

    The Ethos of Privatization

    Colonial Legacies

    Ritual Governance, Mechanisms, and the (Im)Possibilities of Technical Solutions


    Chapter 12. Reconsidering World Bank Influence: The Ritual Aid Dance

    D. Brent Edwards Jr

    World Bank Influence in Broad and Long-Term Perspective

    Sector and Subtle Influence

    Reconsidering Influence: Constraining Factors and Co-dependence

    Theorizing the Ritual Aid Dance

    Examples of the Ritual Aid Dance

    The Ritual Aid Dance with Indonesia

    The Mechanism of the Ritual Aid Dance

    The World Bank, the Ritual Aid Dance, and Global Capitalism

    Contributions and Conclusions

    Appendix 1: World-Bank Approved Education Projects during 1990-2014 for Indonesia


    D. Brent Edwards Jr. is Graduate Chair of the Department of Educational Foundations and Associate Professor of Theory and Methodology in the Study of Education at the University of Hawai'i. His work focuses on (a) the global governance of education, (b) education policy, politics and political economy, with a focus on low-income countries, and (c) democratic and socially just alternatives to dominant education models. He is on the advisory board for the Comparative Education Review. Recent books include The Trajectory of Global Education Policy: Community-based Management in El Salvador and the Global Reform Agenda as well as Global Education Policy, Impact Evaluations, and Alternatives: The Political Economy of Knowledge Production, both with Palgrave Macmillan. Forthcoming in 2023 with Routledge is Globalization, Privatization, and the State: Contemporary Education Reform in Post-colonial Contexts. He is currently the Principal Investigator for a three-year USD 913,000 project funded by the Dubai Cares Foundation entitled "Crisis Management for Disaster Risk Reduction in Education Systems: Learning from the Elaboration and Integration of Technology-Focused Strategies in El Salvador, Honduras, and Colombia." This project was one of only two selected by Dubai Cares from among a pool of 173 that were submitted for its “E-Cubed” Research Envelope through which it supports evidence for education in emergencies. Previously, he was awarded Fulbright Funding for his work in El Salvador, in addition to holding visiting, affiliate, or research positions at George Washington University (USA), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain), the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), University of Central America (El Salvador), the University of the North (Colombia), The University of Tokyo (Japan), Waseda University (Japan), and the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Apart from being a consultant for the World Bank, he has worked on research funded by USAID, UNESCO, Education International, Global Campaign for Education, Open Society Foundations, and the Spencer Foundation. His work has been published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. He received his PhD in International Education Policy from the University of Maryland.

    "Beyond its descriptive and analytical richness, this volume shines in its original theorization of the educational governance relationship itself: less techno-functionalist policymaking, more the emotional theatrics of the Pasodoble bullfight, combined with the Zouk’s improvisation within an intimate embrace. This volume reinvigorates by taking us beyond the superficial genuflection to ‘culture’ we find in so much contemporary educational research. It invites us to see interactions of the Government of Indonesia and the World Bank as part of a much larger, enduring dance between Western-led modernization and post-colonial agility. If Pancasila (state ideology) envisages no fundamental change in the social order, aren’t the Bank’s technical solutions rendered impossible from the outset? Even if the Bank recognizes its partner is out of step, doesn’t the Bank always require another to tango with, else the development dance will stop and the show will be over? This and other brilliant conclusions await!"

    -Jeremy Rappleye, Kyoto University

    "In this compelling account of governance reform in Indonesia, Edwards challenges the prevailing narrative of global organisations dominating national policy spaces by drawing our attention to the resilience of state bureaucracy as a vector of power retention and distribution. The limits of World Bank influence on their client organisations are meticulously documented here through a consideration of the self-serving tactics deployed by Indonesian state officials to render opaque or ambiguous those systems (including decentralisation) that undermine the control of the state. At the same time, Edwards judiciously examines the confluence of interests at work here, namely the World Bank emerging as a key beneficiary of these ‘failed’ systems, despite their calls for improved accountability in these areas. This book is a timely reminder that ‘governance failure’ cannot be simply read as a crisis of individual rationality, as is implied by some positivist accounts of policy change. Rather, Edwards encourages us to look upon these examples of governance failure as the continuation of a set of logics and interests that are entirely rational from the perspective of governments seeking to maintain their power. This is a groundbreaking book that should be read by anyone interested in the politics of governance reform."

    -Andrew Wilkins, Professor, Goldsmiths, University of London

    "This book is a must-reading for those who wish to obtain a real picture of the relationship between a donor (international financial institution) and aid-recipient country. Dr Edwards’ meticulous analysis from the political, cultural, institutional and historical lenses on governance reforms in Indonesia help us understand how donor and borrower interact in the ways that benefit both but do not necessarily lead to the realization of officially pronounced outcomes. His work also serves as an exemplary for students who wish to know how inter-disciplinary research works in unpacking a complex phenomenon of institutional building in a developing nation."

    -Taro Komatsu, Professor, Sophia University, Japan

    "Crucial reading for development researchers. Follows the policy from inception to national Ministries to districts and villages, while interweaving theoretical frameworks, original research, and prior studies to critique the "ritual aid dance" and question the World Bank’s true influence."

    -Kathryn Anderson-Levitt, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan-Dearborn

    "This important book on the relationship between the World Bank and one of its key borrowers, Indonesia, uses a multi-disciplinary framework to shed light on the complex rituals that underpin the aid relationship. In Indonesia, this includes the dance around decentralization legislation that was never meant to be put in practice. Adopting a focus on the social sector and education, the book sheds new light on the debate about the influence of the World Bank on recipients by highlighting differences between the national, sub-national and local level. If you’re interested in development banks and development governmentality in the social domain then read this book."

    -Susan Engel, Associate Professor, University of Wollongong

    "Ritual Governance and the Ritual Aid Dance: Rethinking World Bank Influence, is very important book to understand the role of international funding agencies and their impact on education systems in developing countries. It is well written, very compelling, and provides a comprehensive look at the relationship between such funding agencies and developing countries. Undoubtedly, the World Bank is one of the main architects of educational policy in the Reform era in Indonesia, something that is discussed critically and analytically in the book—and which should appeal to those who study Indonesian educational development. The book contributes significantly across many disciplines and offers a fresh perspective."

    -Bambang Sumintono, Universitas Islam Internasional Indonesia.