Srivastava, Vivek

Governance Global Practice
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Public sector human resource management, Decentralization, Public service delivery, Post-conflict countries
Governance Global Practice
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Vivek Srivastava was a lead public sector specialist in the Governance Global Practice at the World Bank when he worked on this book. He is an economist and has worked on public management and employment and institutional reforms, decentralization, and service delivery in a number of countries in Africa, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands and has a special interest in postconflict countries and the political economy of reforms. During his career at the World Bank he also worked in the Water Global Practice of the World Bank, on issues of governance and institutional reforms in the areas of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) and irrigation services. Before joining the World Bank, he was a civil servant with the Indian Administrative Service for more than 20 years. He holds a doctorate in economics from Boston University. He retired from the World Bank on November 30, 2018.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
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    Public Sector Management Reform : Toward a Problem-Solving Approach
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Blum, Jurgen ; Manning, Nick ; Srivastava, Vivek
    This note sets out key ideas from recent discussions inside and outside the Bank on how donors can support governments more effectively in delivering results in Public Sector Management (PSM) reforms. This note also reflects the discussions that have led to the Bank's new PSM approach for 2011 to 2020; identifies challenges to reforming public sector institutions; and summarizes how current thinking on PSM reform strategies has shifted toward pragmatic problem solving, seeking to improve results by identifying sustainable improvements for the public sector results chain.
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    Working with the Grain for Reforming the Public Service : A Live Example from Sierra Leone
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-07) Srivastava, Vivek ; Larizza, Marco
    Development practitioners still lack a critical mass of empirical evidence which can help identify the set of interventions that are more likely to work, and inform the design and implementation of feasible reforms. This paper contributes to fill this gap by looking at the case of the 'Sierra Leone Pay and Performance Project', a World Bank-supported initiative to reform the civil service. It analyzes the functional problems characterizing the civil service and discusses what factors account for the observed dysfunctions. The central argument is that the current dysfunctions might be difficult to reverse as they define a sub-optimal equilibrium which serves political purposes (dysfunctions by design). However, politics is not all that matters. This equilibrium is further reinforced by systemic dysfunctions that may not be the consequence of any strategic design or the outcome of elite preferences (dysfunctions by default). This is where there is scope for change, even in the short run. The authors conclude that the chances of successful civil service reforms are likely to be maximized if reform initiatives support modest and incremental changes that work with the grain of existing incentives and are consistent with government preferences. The Sierra Leone Pay and Performance Project aims to do so by adopting a limited and targeted focus on pay reform, performance management and recruitment and staffing. In addition, the use of the results-based lending instrument is expected to help mitigate the current dysfunctions by aligning the incentives of the various players and, in this way, create the conditions for greater coordination across government agencies. Although the suggested approach is not without risks, recent dynamics suggest that the chances of success are greater today than in the past.
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    Engaging for Results in Civil Service Reforms : Early Lessons from a Problem-Driven Engagement in Sierra Leone
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-05) Roseth, Benjamin ; Srivastava, Vivek
    Two related propositions have been central in the recent debates on public sector reforms. The first of these is that the appropriate measure of institutional strength is the ability of public sector management systems to deliver ("functionality") rather than the institutional "form" or what these institutions look like. This is a central idea in the World Bank's Public Sector Management (PSM) Approach 2011-2020. Second, and consistent with this, is the recognition that the process of engagement matters in the sense that how problems, solutions, and reform approaches are identified matters at least as much as what the solution is. This suggests that development institutions should focus on bringing a broad range of stakeholders together and facilitate a process of collective problem and solution identification. Recent contributions to the literature describe a "Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation" approach as a means of putting this idea into practice. While both of these propositions have considerable intellectual and intuitive appeal, they are based on an inductive logic and neither is currently backed with a large body of robust evidence. This paper contributes to this literature by documenting the experience of a civil service reform project -- the World Bank-financed Sierra Leone Pay and Performance Project -- the objective of which is to improve the performance of the civil service in Sierra Leone by targeting a narrowly defined set of critical reforms. The paper concludes that intensive, client-led engagement together with use of a results-based lending instrument provide a promising way forward on a difficult reform agenda.
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    Paths between Peace and Public Service: A Comparative Analysis of Public Service Reform Trajectories in Postconflict Countries
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019) Blum, Jürgen René ; Ferreiro-Rodriguez, Marcos ; Srivastava, Vivek
    Building a capable public service is fundamental to postconflict state building. Yet in postconflict settings, short-term pressures often conflict with this longer-term objective. To ensure peace and stabilize fragile coalitions, the imperative for political elites to hand out public jobs and better pay to constituents dominates merit. Donor-financed projects that rely on technical assistants and parallel structures, rather than on government systems, are often the primary vehicle for meeting pressing service delivery needs. What, then, is a workable approach to rebuilding public services postconflict? Paths between Peace and Public Service seeks to answer this question by comparing public service reform trajectories in five countries—Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste—in the aftermath of conflict. The study seeks to explain these countries’ different trajectories through process tracing and structured, focused methods of comparative analysis. To reconstruct reform trajectories, the report draws on more than 200 interviews conducted with government officials and other stakeholders, as well as administrative data. The study analyzes how reform trajectories are influenced by elite bargains and highlights their path dependency, shaped by preconflict legacies and the specifics of the conflict period. As the first systematic study on postconflict public service reforms, it identifies lessons for the future engagement of development partners in building public services.