The Elusive Synthesis: Exploring the Changing Relationship Between Democracy Support and Development Aid

October 07, 2010
12:00 pm - 02:00 pm


Thomas Carothers
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Scott Hubli
National Democratic Institute

Brian Levy
World Bank


Marc F. Plattner
National Endowment for Democracy

Thursday, October 7, 2010
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The once relatively separate communities of democracy aid and development aid have in recent years become increasingly interconnected. Developmentalists acknowledge the importance of taking politics into account and accept governance as a factor in developmental success. Democracy aid providers embrace the need to shape their efforts to “help democracy deliver” on the socioeconomic front. Yet within each of these communities uncertainty and at times ambivalence still mark attitudes about the other. Do the growing ties between the two domains constitute a process of integration or even synthesis? What are the most important areas of common ground and the most significant differences? What does it mean to integrate democracy goals into a larger developmental agenda?

To mark the publication of a set of articles on this topic in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of Democracy, and the publication a new Journal of Democracy book, Debates on Democratization (Johns Hopkins Press), the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Journal of Democracy cosponsored a panel discussion on this topic featuring the authors of the articles in the October 2010 Journal forum on democracy and development.


Thomas Carothers is the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. In this capacity, he oversees the Democracy and Rule of Law Program and Carnegie Europe. Carothers is a leading authority on democracy promotion and democratization worldwide, as well as an expert on U.S. foreign policy generally. He is the founder and director of the Democracy and the Rule of Law Program, which analyzes the state of democracy in the world.

Scott Hubli is the director of governance programs at the National Democratic Institute (NDI). In addition to his long history of work with NDI, both on the governance team and with the executive office, Hubli has served as a consultant to organizations and international institutions worldwide, including the United Nations Development Programme, the Asia Foundation, Associates in Rural Development, and Management Systems International.

Brian Levy is currently an adviser on public sector governance at the World Bank, where he has also served as sector manager of the Africa Public Sector Reform and Capacity Building Unit and has worked with the organization’s Africa Vice Presidency on the challenges of strengthening the institutional underpinnings of African development. He has published numerous books and articles on the interactions between public institutions, the private sector and development in Africa, East Asia, and elsewhere.


Marc F. Plattner is founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy, vice-president for research and studies at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies. In addition to his work in Washington, he has held several visiting fellowships and has been an adviser on economic and social affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. He is the author or editor of numerous books, and has published articles on a wide range of international and public policy issues.