Public Service Provision in Clientelistic Political Settlements: Lessons from Ghana's Urban Water Sector

Marja Hirvi*, Lindsay Whitfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The politics of public-service delivery continues to be neglected under the supposedly more context-sensitive post-Washington Consensus. Using interviews and documentary evidence from Ghana, this article provides an account of the networks of political interference and informal practices in Ghana's public water utility. It argues that, in order to understand why private-sector participation succeeds or fails and why similar arrangements have different outcomes across developing countries, we need to examine the effects of the informal institutional context, particularly the country-specific political settlement in which public-service provision operates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopment Policy Review
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)135-158
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes

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