The politics of distributing social transfers in Oromiya, Ethiopia : encadrement and the fluctuation of state infrastructural power

Tom Lavers, Dunyat Haile, Yerosan Mesfin

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

Abstract
This paper examines the politics of distributing the Productive Safety Net Programme
(PSNP) in Ethiopia’s Oromiya region. Drawing on detailed case studies in Arssi and
North Shewa, the paper highlights the importance of state infrastructural power in
shaping programme distribution. Over 30 years of Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary
Democratic Front (EPRDF) rule, the party-state project of encadrement, or the
incorporation of people into structures of control, has been taken to a new level. The
creation of sub-kebele administrative structures and performance evaluations that
reach down to the household level have underpinned a massive expansion of state
infrastructural power – the ability of the central state to implement policies throughout
its territory. The case studies highlight the importance of state infrastructural power in
understanding PSNP implementation. Sub-kebele structures have become a key
aspect of PSNP implementation, notably in identifying who receives support. However,
strong state infrastructural power has also proven problematic, used to enforce
graduation from the PSNP to meet centrally defined targets, regardless of the reality
of local food insecurity. The Oromo protests and the ongoing transformation of the
political landscape in Ethiopia have unleashed a counter-movement to the project of
encadrement, leading to the collapse of these structures of control. This collapse
threatens state infrastructural power, both in terms of service delivery and the coercive
power of the central state.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEffective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre
Pages1-36
Number of pages36
Volume142
ISBN (Electronic)9781912593521
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameEffective states and inclusive development
Volume142

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute

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