Barma, Naazneen H.

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Political economy, Governance, Institutional reform, Peacebuilding, Statebuilding, Natural resource governance, Fragile states, Civil service reform, East Asia and the Pacific
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Naazneen H. Barma is Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Her research and teaching focus on the political economy of development, international interventions in post-conflict states, and natural resource governance, with a regional specialization in East Asia and the Pacific. Prior to joining the faculty at NPS, Dr. Barma was a Young Professional and Public Sector Specialist at the World Bank, where she conducted political economy analysis and worked on operational dimensions of governance and institutional reform in the East Asia Pacific Region. She has over fifteen years of full-time and consulting experience with the World Bank and other aid agencies. Dr. Barma received her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Tailoring Civil Service Pay Analysis and Advice to Context : Challenges, Approaches, and the Case of Lao PDR
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-01) Barma, Naazneen H. ; Orac, Jana
    The adequacy of compensation for government workers and the affordability of the public sector wage bill are important concerns for many developing countries. Suitable pay is considered a necessary -- albeit far from sufficient -- condition for attracting and retaining skilled public sector staff. This paper makes the case for conducting fine-grained analysis of pay and compensation issues in order to enable an accurate assessment of the challenges faced and thereby to generate good-fit reform recommendations that are both principled and feasible. The first part of the paper focuses on prevalent challenges in pay reform, both contextual and analytical. It builds on the experiences from three very different settings: Armenia, the Lao People s Democratic Republic, and Mongolia. The study begins by surveying some of the common difficulties in conducting granular analysis on civil service compensation. It then outlines a series of methodological approaches that can prove useful in developing comprehensive, targeted, and nuanced pay analyses and discusses how it is possible to overcome potential limitations in practice. The second half of the paper presents a case study of pay and compensation analysis in Lao PDR. The study illuminates how a number of these approaches can be combined in assessing a specific set of pay challenges and generating robust recommendations tailored to context. A brief postscript, with the benefit of hindsight on what subsequently happened on the ground in Lao PDR, reflects on the limitations of technical analysis in motivating reform implementation in practice.
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    Institutions Taking Root : Building State Capacity in Challenging Contexts
    (World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-09-09) Barma, Naazneen H. ; Huybens, Elisabeth ; Vinuela, Lorena ; Barma, Naazneen H. ; Huybens, Elizabeth ; Viñuela, Lorena
    Building and operating successful public institutions is a perennial and long-term challenge for governments, which is compounded by the volatile conditions found in fragile settings. Yet some government agencies do manage to take root and achieve success in delivering results earning legitimacy and forging resilience in otherwise challenging contexts. Drawing on mixed-method empirical research carried out on nine public agencies in Lao PDR, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, and Timor Leste, this volume identifies the shared causal mechanisms underpinning institutional success in fragile states by examining the inner workings of these institutions, along with the external operational environment and sociopolitical context in which they exist. Successful institutions share and deploy a common repertoire of internal and external operational strategies. In addition they connect this micro-institutional repertoire to the macro-sociopolitical context along three discernible pathways to institutional success. Institutional development is a heavily contextual, dynamic, and non-linear process but certain actionable lessons emerge for policy-makiers and development partners.
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    At the Frontier of Practical Political Economy : Operationalizing an Agent-Based Stakeholder Model in the World Bank's East Asia and Pacific Region
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-01) Nunberg, Barbara ; Barma, Naazneen ; Abdollahian, Mark ; Green, Amanda ; Perlman, Deborah
    Reform programs sometimes falter because they are politically infeasible. Policy change inevitably creates winners and losers, so those with vested interests strike bargains to determine how far and how quickly reform should advance. Understanding these micro political dynamics of reform can mean the difference between a successful intervention that gains political traction and a well-intentioned gambit that falls short of achieving its developmental objectives. Donors like the World Bank have been searching for ways to take these political factors more fully into account as they design programs to support country reforms. This initiative sought to introduce a rigorous and operationally usable political analysis tool that could be systematically integrated into the World Bank's country programming cycle. The East Asia and Pacific region carried out a multi-country pilot of the Agent-Based Stakeholder Model. This innovative analytical approach entails a quantitative simulation of the complex bargaining dynamics surrounding reform. The model anticipates stakeholder coalition formation and gauges the political feasibility of alternative proposed interventions. This paper provides a review of the Agent-Based Stakeholder Model pilot experience, exploring what sets this model apart from more traditional approaches, how it works, and how it fits into the Bank's operational cycle at various stages. An overview of the Mongolia, Philippines, and Timor-Leste country cases is followed by an examination of policy-related insights and lessons learned. Finally, the paper builds on this East Asian pilot experience, offering ideas on a potential way forward for organizations like the World Bank to deepen and extend their political analysis capabilities. The paper argues that the Agent-Based Stakeholder Model, utilized thoughtfully, offers a powerful addition to the practical political economy toolkit.
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    Rents to Riches? The Political Economy of Natural Resource-led Development
    (World Bank, 2012) Barma, Naazneen H. ; Kaiser, Kai ; Le, Tuan Minh ; Vinuela, Lorena
    This volume emphasizes instead the notion of 'good fit,' taking the position that welfare-promoting policies, institutions, and governance must be tailored, at least in part, to a country's specific context. In this vein, the volume presents an analytical framework for assessing a country's political economy and institutional environment as it relates to natural resource management and, on that basis, it offers a substantial set of targeted prescriptions across the natural resource value chain that are technically sound and compatible with the identified underlying incentives. In other words, the objective of this book is to help development practitioners unravel the political economy dynamics surrounding natural resource management in order to complement their technically grounded engagement. To this end, the analytical approach has been two-pronged. First, case studies were conducted on the political economy of the hydrocarbon and mineral value chains in 13 countries in the Africa, East Asia and Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean regions. Second, in light of this empirical material, the book highlights the current frontier of applied political economy analysis on resource dependence. This volume synthesizes the empirical and the theoretical with an emphasis on illuminating the implications for operational engagement in resource-dependent settings.