The decade since the mid-1980s has marked an increased recognition on the part of development agencies and aid donors that democracy may represent an essential requirement for sustainable and equitable economic development. Recognising that corrupt and unaccountable authoritarian governments often lack the necessary governmental and administrative infrastructure to implement successfully the neoliberal development strategies widely advocated by the ‘Washington Consensus’,2 the World Bank in particular has been a prime mover in arguing that ‘good government’ is a vital prerequisite for economic progress. A consequence of this trend has been that the World Bank has significantly increased the political content of its policy advice to borrower countries, with measures to promote political pluralism, administrative accountability and social justice (including respect for human rights, judicial independence, freedom of speech and press activity) introduced alongside more traditional concerns with economic liberalisation in its conditionality requirements (World Bank, 1992; Lancaster, 1993; Moore, 1993; Osborne, 1993).
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