Journal of
Public Administration and Policy Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Public Adm. Policy Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2480
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPAPR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 147


Rule of law in Africa and Asia: Solving the principal-agent problem

Jan-Erik Lane
  • Jan-Erik Lane
  • 10 Charles Humbert, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 03 November 2014
  •  Accepted: 11 December 2014
  •  Published: 30 December 2014


One may look upon the now unfolding events in Burkina Faso from the point of view of rule of law, interpreted with the so-called principal-agent model in the social sciences. Why, then, do many countries in Africa and Asia score low on rule of law, not resolving the principal-agent problem successfully? Is this a legacy from Western colonialism or oriental despotism and tribal forms of power? The principal-agent problem in politics and public administration refers to how the people as principal – demos - empower the political leaders and their bureaucrats to govern the country. The principal-agent contract consists of promises about what these agents will do as well as what they may expect in remuneration. The mutual understanding between the principal and the agents – political consideration – tends to become institutionalised. Thus, constitutional and administrative law and praxis make up political consideration.

Key words: Constitutional and administrative law, dimensions of rule of law: rule of law I, rule of law II, democracy, World Bank Governance Project, dimensions of good governance, principal-agent theory of politics and public administration, the Africa-Asia deficit on rule of law.