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Grindle M.S. (2011) Good Enough Governance Revisited, Development Policy Review, Volume 29, Issue Supplement s1, pages s223–s251

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‘Good enough governance’ refers to the minimal conditions of governance necessary to allow political and economic development to occur, contrasting with the long and growing list of normative requirements included in the traditional good governance agenda. Given the fact that there remain major unresolved debates about the relationship between governance and development, how can practitioners take decisions on concrete interventions to achieve ‘good enough governance’? The following analytical frameworks can help to improve decision making about what governance interventions should be undertaken in particular country contexts:

  • Assessing the context for governance interventions: What is there to build upon? Priorities for governance interventions should match the characteristics of the state, its strengths and capacities. A typology of state characteristics and respective priorities for intervention is presented in the paper.
  • Assessing the content of governance interventions: What are the characteristics of specific interventions? Practitioners need to anticipate the ease or difficulty of alternative measures based on factors such as their potential to ignite conflict, time requirements, administrative complexity and the need for behavioural change.
  • Content and context in the process of reform: Is there room for manoeuvre in the process of change? Good political economy analysis combines analysis of both context and content and seeks ways of bringing that analysis to bear on the practice of reform. It should recognise that the reform process is dynamic and may be subject to different influences, public exposure and processes of negotiation unfolding over time.

The paper concludes that where most is needed in terms of improved governance, the more difficult good enough governance is to achieve. Change is not always possible and there are no magic bullets. But, research and practice can help to find opportunities for moving in a positive direction.

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