Building State Legitimacy

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In September 2014, The Fletcher School was awarded a two-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to develop strategies for bridging the academic-policy divide.  The Institute for Human Security is administering the grant and leveraging the multi-disciplinary expertise that exists at The Fletcher School and other relevant Tufts centers, such as the World Peace Foundation and the Feinstein International Center.  Other partners on the project include the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, the Overseas Development Institute, and the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium. 

The substantive focus of this research is examining the role of legitimacy in the governance of conflict-affected or fragile states, and more specifically on how, in peacebuilding programs, perceptions of legitimacy intersect with political inclusion, provision of basic services, security sector governance and corruption in the criminal justice sector.  After research findings were disseminated, discussions with targeted policy audiences focused on the implications for policy response.

The research and findings focus on four key areas: 






Inclusion in Political Processes


Drawing on the Inclusive Peace and Transition Initiative's data from 40 cases around the world, research finds that more inclusive peace processes result in greater likelihood of an agreement being reached, that the agreement will be implemented and that it will hold in the following years.  The research also finds that parties involved in the conflict tend to initiate inclusion for strategic reasons, in an attempt to strengthen their legitimacy in the eyes of a variety of audiences – both internal and external.


The Role of Legitimacy in the Governance of Fragile States: Preliminary Findings on Legitimacy and Inclusion

Inclusion and Legitimacy in Contemporary Peace & Transition Processes





Delivery of Basic Services


Based on a panel survey carried out in DRC, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda, along with supporting qualitative work, research finds no linear or consistent relationship between provision of basic services and perceptions of legitimacy at local or central governance levels.  It also does not seem to matter who delivers services.  What matters for perceptions of legitimacy of governance is the quality of the services, the relations between citizens and those who provide services and the channels citizens have to press for better services.


Surveying Service Delivery and Perceptions of Governance: Baseline Evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Uganda

Lisa Denney, Richard Mallett and Dyan Mazurana

Thematic Paper on Peacebuilding and Service Delivery



Can Services Deliver Legitimacy and Build Peace?


Health Care, Water and Education in Building State Legitimacy








Security Sector Governance/Reform


Drawing on research into African peace missions, including both political/mediation exercises and peace support operations, the study of security sector governance and reform (SSG/R) examines how state legitimacy has been contested and is reconstructed through political and military processes. These processes are both internal and external: our research challenges the preconception that armed conflicts in Africa are primarily internal, indicating that externally-driven processes of conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peace enforcement, and post-conflict SSR and disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) result in the consolidation of new governance networks that are both domestic and external to the countries concerned.


African Politics, African Peace: Report submitted to the African Union by the World Peace Foundation

Pushing the African Union to Prevent Conflicts on Its Own Turf

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Clashing Measures of Legitimacy in African Security Sector Reform: Implications for Efforts to Protect Civilians


Perspectives on Legitimacy: African Peace Missions, Security Sector Governance, Public Authority and Political & legitimacy


Peace Missions in Africa: Constraints, Challenges, and Opportunities 
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Practical security: security sector reform in stormy waters






Corruption in the Criminal Justice Sector


Based on research in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this work identifies a mismatch between the strategies used to combat corruption and the nature of the problem itself. Anti-corruption efforts often fail to take account of drivers of corruption that are rooted in social norms and political dynamics.  Using a more holistic analysis of corruption dynamics and programming options, our research considers whether and how corruption’s effects on state legitimacy vary with the kind of corruption and source of demand, in order to develop more effective anti-corruption strategies and programs.


Are social norms an important missing link in anti-corruption programming?


Thinking of attending IACC 18 in Denmark?

What Dynamics Drive Police and Judicial Officers to Engage in Corruption

What Dynamics Drive Citizens to Engage in or Accede to Corruption

Three Lessons about Corruption in the Police and Courts in Northern Uganda

Facilitation in Criminal Justice Sector Cover_Small

Facilitation in the Criminal Justice System

Facilitation in Criminal Justice Sector Cover_Small

Final Blog of the Corruption, Criminal Justice and Legitimacy Mini-Series

How to deal with the complexity of corruption: Four recommendations for programming

Taking the Blinders Off: Questioning How Development Assistance is Used to Combat Corruption

Three Critical Factors Missing in Corruption Assessment

What Makes Corruption Complex?

Why the Lid Doesn’t Fit the Pot: The Mismatch Between Corruption and Anti-corruption Programming

Common Approaches to Understanding and Combatting Corruption

Corruption, Justice and Legitimacy

 What Can We Learn About Corruption in Fragile States?

Corruption, Justice, and Fragile States