• institutions;
  • institutional development;
  • institutional change;
  • capacity building;
  • informal institutions


Institutional development has become a core component of international development programmes. Yet, institutional reforms have, to date, had a disappointing impact on poverty reduction in the South. The causality of the links between institutions and poverty reduction and how exactly the institutional environment and development outcomes affect each other is still unclear. A lack of analytical consensus has resulted in vague policy recommendations and a dearth of clear operational guidelines for international development practitioners. This article provides an overview of the main current institutional development debates and gaps in existing research, and identifies some key organisations working on institutional issues in the academic and practitioner spheres. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.