State Effectiveness


For a state to be effective, it must carry out a core set of governance capabilities that meet citizens’ expectations and earn public trust while setting the conditions for economic and market development. Effective and accountable states must also participate in a global community of nations, which is governed by shared international norms and standards. ISE works to refine concepts and frameworks for governance, economic and civic engagement, and international relationships.

State of the State


There is an urgent and universal need to develop an agenda and framework for reimagining the state’s ability to understand and meet evolving citizen expectations and help ensure a global order that works in the interests of all sectors of society. ISE’s State of the State initiative aims to reinvigorate a collective agenda on state effectiveness by listening to leaders and citizens alike to assess emerging global trends impacting the role of the state, build on the lessons of the last decade of reform and statecraft, and explore the ‘how-to’ of making the state more effective and legitimate. The overall goal of this multi-year dialogue is to design a forward-looking Agenda for the State for the next 10-15 years that can align the efforts of different stakeholders, bridge communities of practices, and help guide future policy and academic directions. Read more on ISE’s work on closing the gap between citizen expectations and what states deliver here.

Team-Based Performance Management Systems: Lessons from Afghanistan

Many global policy agreements on increased aid effectiveness have advocated for development partners to use and build the capacity of the aid recipient country’s institutions to achieve greater sustainability. However, experience from fragile and conflict-affected…

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Asset Maps

Rooted in its experience and expertise in state institutions, ISE has developed asset maps as a reframed perspective in which a country’s assets and opportunities are recognized as tools of progress, not static demonstrations of…

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Performance and Policy-Based Budgeting: How to Spot the Fakes

In the allocation of scarce public resources, good budgeting is an art and a skill. It is a core function of government, and as such, it is fundamentally a political process with many competing objectives.…

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Budget Reforms in Afghanistan— A Practitioner’s Perspective

Facing critical challenges to its public financial management system, the Government of Afghanistan seized a window of opportunity to successfully craft a new budget process that prioritized reform sequencing, transparency, and public engagement, and laid…

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Data in Government

The massive proliferation of data has fundamentally changed the systems of modern governance and development. Leveraging sustainable and cohesive data ecosystems, and understanding the limits of data’s use, are unique challenges for country-led transformations that…

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