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BIGD & FES Signing Ceremony held

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BIGD & FES Signing Ceremony held
BIGD FES Signing ceremonyFranziska Korn, Resident Representative of FES, Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, ED of BIGD and others participants are seen at the signing ceremony (From Left)

The contract signing ceremony between BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University and Friendrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) was held on 8 December 2016 at BIGD. BIGD agreed to partner with FES (a German foundation) and develop the curriculum for the Academy of Work (AoW) on the Modules - Field of Management & Organisation and Economics and the course - Gender, Trade Unions and Decent Work. The certificate/diploma programme will be co-ordinated by BIGD, FES and Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies (BILS).

Dr. Sultan Hafeez Rahman, Executive Director of BIGD, and Franziska Korn, Resident Representative of FES Bangladesh signed the contract on behalf of BIGD and FES and expressed their hope of continuing this partnership for the long term. BIGD Research team, Training and Programme sectors and the Communications team attended the ceremony. 

Working Paper 33: Medical Expenditure and Household Welfare in Bangladesh

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Working Paper Series No. 33
October 2016
33. Nabila Zaman Working paper 28 11 16 copy Page 01


The reliance on heavy out–of-pocket expenditure for medical care leads to households getting trapped into a vicious cycle of poverty. In Bangladesh, private health care expenditure accounts for almost 64% of total health expenditure being financed from out-of-pocket (OOP). These escalating medical costs cause financial hardship for a majority of households and may even lead to welfare loss. Using household level data from Household Income and Expenditure Survey-2010 and applying log-linear regression estimation procedure, the study estimates the catastrophic impact of health expenditure on household welfare. Welfare loss is associated with reduction of ‘food expenditure’ and ‘non-food expenditure’. The study finds that compared to households with no healthcare expenditure, households with non-catastrophic healthcare expenditure reduced food expenditure by 3.1% and households with catastrophic healthcare expenditure reduced food expenditure by 15.2%. Compared to households financing healthcare from internal sources, households with external financing reduced food and non-food expenditures by 5.57% and 1% respectively and households that finance healthcare from both internal and external sources reduced food and non-expenditures by 11.4% and 16% respectively. Our findings indicate that a catastrophic health event diverts household income to health care by a large amount (28.1%) which causes significant reduction in non-food expenditure. eventually causing substantial loss in household welfare. Catastrophic health events did not reduce food consumption significantly but it has a significant impact on non-food expenditure. Non-hospital medical expenditure such as cost of medicine was the primary cause of facing catastrophic health event.

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Working Paper 34: Role of electoral competition in explaining political violence in Bangladesh – a district level analysis

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BIGD Working Paper Series No. 34
November 2016
34. Salina and Farhana Working paper 28 11 16 Page 01

This paper deals with political violence in Bangladesh. In this paper, we show that the degree of political violence varies widely in districts and argue that this can be explained by the difference in political competitiveness. We use election competition as a proxy of political competitiveness and attempt to study whether it can explain variation in political violence in districts. This paper tests the hypothesis using a multiple regression model and finds substantial support for the hypothesis. It is also found that allocation of development expenditure, population density and urban centricity, along with location of regional headquarters are strong determinants of political violence.


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BIGD Special Publication Series 01: Upazila and Union Parishad Governance: A Study on Institutional Relationships and Linkages

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BIGD Special Publication Series
No.01 July, 2016

 Upazila and Union Parishad Governance: A Study on Institutional Relationships and Linkages 

Contributors: Mirza M. Hassan, Sadiat Mannan

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Special publication 01Institutional Relationship Page 01

The research finding indicates that bureaucrats tend to give less importance to the elected representatives (at the Upazila level), which is consistent with the dominant bureaucratic culture.The other reasons for officials bypassing the upazila parishad and their relatively greater focus at the UP level are grounded in political economy. The UP, where most of the resource allocation processes are based, provides rent-seeking opportunities to the upazila officials (particularly UE and PIO).Such marginalization of the upazila parishad is possible since the Upazila Chairperson (UZC) is largely unable to make officials accountable to him due to his lack of technical knowledge of the system. For instance, due to this lacking the UZC cannot handle the Annual Performance Report (APR) process effectively. Also, bureaucrats tend to ignore the performance appraisal process.Despite reforms for the devolution of power to the elected representatives very little substantive changes have taken place in the functioning of the administration.Consequently, the Upazila parishad continues to be a marginal entity and this makes the administration the pivot of the overall governance of upazila.

The research suggests that the balance of power among the members of the UZP (e.g. Upazila Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, UP Chairperson) is deeply affected by local political equations.For instance, the nature of functioning of Committees and resolution writing process can be essentially an outcome of political bargaining between two actors (UZC and MP). Due to the successive changes in laws empowering MP, the political space and manoeuvring capacity of UZP has been largely constrained.

The relationship among members at the UP level tends to be collegial, indicating political settlement/equilibrium among the UP level actors.Project allocations at the end are, to a certain extent, determined by political bargaining and compromises among the elected members of the UP.The neutrality of civil society's representation in the UP level Committees (e.g. safety-net related Committees) is compromised by the interference of MP through the UNO. Finally, Standing Committees tend to be largely dysfunctional. However, Committees related to social safety-nets are relatively more functional, although their membership composition tends to deviate from their prescribed formal rules and regulations.

Policy Note: Social Accountability In Public Procurement: How Citizen Engagement Can Make A Difference

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Policy Note, October 2016
Social Accountability In Public Procurement: How Citizen Engagement Can Make A Difference
Contributor: Mirza M Hassan, Syeda Salina Aziz, Nadir Shah
Social Accountability Page 1

Social accountability refers to citizens’ direct involvementin monitoring overall performances of bureaucratic agencies or representative institutions (Hassan, 2008) and is a mechanism to hold government officials accountable for ensuring proper utilization of taxpayers’ money. Social accountability is increasingly being promoted by governments and development agencies as it yields positive outcomes such as more responsive local government, exposure of government failures and corruption, empowerment of marginalized groups, and ensuring that the national and local governments respond to concerns of the poor (Camargo & Jacobs, 2013), though the appropriate means, through which the mechanism can be effectively implemented, is yet to be clearly understood. As nature (quality or extent) of implementation of development projects vary, contingent on local beneficiaries/stakeholders’ interest/incentive,therefore, design of social accountability mechanisms should also be tailored to the specific needs of each localities. In Bangladesh various social accountability mechanisms are being used in different projects in an experimental manner though at least in one important case it has been adopted as a standard policy and implemented on a national scale (LGSP). One very recent initiative in this regard is the incorporation of social accountability mechanism in public procurement, which is being piloted under the Procurement Reform Project (PPRP)-II . This policy note reflects on the design and experiences of this piloting initiative specifically in public construction works and tries to draw interim lessons for development of strategies so that replication of similar project can be done on a wider scale.

Case Study: Citizen Engagement in Public Procurement: Experience from pilot districts

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Case Study  Citizen Engagement Page 1Case Study 
Citizen Engagement in Public Procurement: Experience from pilot districts

Bangladesh spends a major portion of its development budget on public procurement and tenderers generally implement these procurement projects. The issue of citizens’ engagement is expected to be a helpful tool to establish transparency and accountability in implementation of procurement along with ensuring high quality of such public service delivery. Public procurement activities aim to use public money efficiently by providing quality services. Citizen engagement is a potential mechanism to ensure this efficiency by allowing citizens’ participatory role in different stages of the public procurement process. Although it has been only recently introduced in Bangladesh, in a limited way, the initial experiences from pilot project indicate that citizens can be made quickly aware of it and they have the incentives to embrace it enthusiastically to make procurement process transparent and effective.