Rethinking World Bank Influence : Governance Reforms and the Ritual Aid Dance in Indonesia book cover
1st Edition

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

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 5, 2023
ISBN 9780367150891
March 5, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
280 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes

List of Contributors


List of Acronymns

List of Bahasa words



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


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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 Hawaii. 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. Within these three research lines, Edwards has focused on investigating the rise of global education policies and the influence of international organizations in education reform. In addition to publishing regularly in journals in the fields of education policy and comparative and international education, 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 $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 and/or has produced reports or evaluations for international organizations and foundations such as 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.