Dr. Joop de Wit is a social anthropologist specialized in Public Policy and Development Management, and more broadly (urban) poverty and governance issues, including decentralisation, participation and the (formal but also informal) interfaces between poor communities, local government, politicians and the state. He previously worked as Urban Management expert at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development in Rotterdam and as Thematic Expert Institutional Development at the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation. He obtained his PhD (1993) on the study ,‘Poverty, Policy and Politics in Madras Slums’ at the Free University of Amsterdam, and subsequently managed the Bangalore Urban Poverty Program for the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation for three years.
He teaches at ISS in the Major Program ‘Governance, Policy and Political Economy’, and teaches on the Politics of Development, on Local Governance and Public Sector Organisations and Management. He is a member of the Staff Group ‘States, Societies and World Development’, and the Research Program Governance, Globalisation and Social Justice’.
Most of his research focused on the linkages between poverty, politics and governance in the megacities of India, investigating both formal policy and their impacts and informal dynamics . Examples of the former include the co-edited volume with Isa Baud (2008) , .New Forms of Governance in Urban India: Shifts, Models, Networks and Contestations , New Delhi & London: Sage). A continuous line of inquiry entails the
informal dynamics of patronage and corruption as part of urban governance (e.g. J. de Wit and E. Berner (2009) ‘Progressive patronage? Municipalities, NGOs, Community-Based Organizations, and the Limits to Slum Dwellers’ Empowerment’ . Development and Change, 40(5), 927-947).
Since 2004 he has worked frequently in Vietnam,leading a capacity development program with VASS to strengthen local governance (De Wit, J. (2007) Decentralisation, Local Governance and Community Participation in Vietnam ; as well as a project with the Hanoi Based Ho Chi Minh Academy of Politics and Public Administration. He studied decentralised policy implementation in Vietnam, by considering land Recovery and Resettlement in Ha Tinh Province, and carried out studies for UNDP into urban land dynamics and into farmer livelihoods of farmers following relocation. His latest book 'Urban Poverty, Local Governance and Everyday Politics in Mumbai', will be published by Routledge in 2016.