Alumni profile

Laura Torvinen

Thesis: Assessing Governance Assessments; The Case of Mozambique Governance Assessments in the Context of Aid Effectiveness Discourse, 2013

Promotor(s): Adam Szirmai

Educational Background
Msc. Economics, Helsinki School of Economics (Finland)
MPhil Development Studies, University of Sussex, Institute of Development Studies (UK)

Research Interest
The focus of my research is on governance reforms in the case of Mozambique. While governance has been a central issue in development policy discussion for a relatively long time, the concept has gained significant weight over the last decade, in particular in the aid effectiveness debate.

The argument that aid is effective in countries with good policies and institutional environments has been widely accepted by the donor community and governance has become the new catchword in international development policy. The aid allocations of donors are increasingly influenced by their assessment of the quality of governance and performance of the developing country partners. Yet, in the words of the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report of 2006: “…while empirical research links governance-related institutions and development, there is not yet a consensus as to how to approach governance and its measurement” (Global Monitoring Report 2006, Strengthening Mutual Accountability, p. 11).

The emphasis on governance has resulted in increasing numbers of tools and indicators to assess quality of governance. Concerns are raised about the transparency and reliability of such indicators, particulary because they are widely used as the basis for decisions on aid allocation.

Mozambique provides an interesting case for analysing the real life implications of governance assessment. Mozambique has gone through a major transformation over the past two decades emerging from a deeply divided country at war into one of the fastest growing, politically stable economies in the Sub-Saharan Africa. The case study on Mozambique is mainly concerned with questions such as: Can the widely used governance indicators capture the relevant dimensions of governance? Do the governance assessments provide an incentive for implementing governance reforms? In view of the lessons learned from Mozambique, are countries with weak governance penalised with less support when, it might be argued, they are the ones most in need of additional aid financing?

On 21 November 2013 Laura successfully defended her thesis.


Selected publications by Laura Torvinen