Michael Kpessa-Whyte


Michael W. Kpessa, PhD.

Research Fellow, History and Politics Section

Contact Details

Email:   mkpessa-whyte@ug.edu.gh


  • B.A. Political Science (Legon, Ghana)
  • M.A. Political Science - International Relations (Brock, Canada)
  • PhD. Political Science - Comparative Public Policy and Administration (McMaster, Canada)

Areas of Research Interest

  • Governance and Institutional Design (constitutions, political parties, and electoral systems)
  • Social Policy (pensions, education, healthcare, and labour market)
  • Political Actors (bureaucrats, elected officials, and civil society organizations)
  • Public Administration (alternative service delivery, participatory policy making)
  • Transnational Actors in Africa (World Bank, ILO, IMF etc).
  • Public Policy, Nationalism, and Nation-building

Synopsis of Current Research

Dr. Kpessa's current research (a) analyses the transformative and innovative uses of social policies (education, healthcare, transport. Housing, retirement income security etc) for nation-building, economic   development, and democratic governance; and (b) examines the nexus between democratic mobilization and redistribution (or lack thereof) in Sub-Saharan African countries.

Selected Publications

Academic Journals

  1. Michael W. Kpessa & Daniel Beland (2013) “Mapping Social Policy Development in Sub-Saharan Africa” Policy Studies, At 10: 40
  2. Michael W. Kpessa (2013)Pension Privatization in Africa: The Coercive Power of an Idea and the Politics of Retirement Income Security Policy Reforms in Ghana and Nigeria” in Journal of Developing Country Studies No. 3; Issue 3; pp. 94-105.
  3. Michael W. Kpessa & Raymond Atuguba (2013), “Grounding with the People: Participatory Policy Making in the Context of Constitution review in Ghana” in Journal of Politics and Law, Vol. 6, No.1, pp. 99-110
  4. Michael W. Kpessa (2012) “The Politics and Challenge of Institutional Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa” in Ghana Journal of Development Studies No. 9; Issue 2; pp.1-21
  5. Michael Kpessa (2011), "Socio-Economic Transformation in Ghana: Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Development in the Nkrumah and Rawlings Years" in Research Review, Vol. 27, Issue 1
  6. Michael Kpessa, Daniel Beland, & Andre Lecours (2011), "Nationalism, Development, and Social Policy: The Politics of Nation-Building in Sub-Saharan Africa" in Ethnic and racial Studies (iFirst)
  7. Michael Kpessa (2011) "Provident Funds Pension Programs in English-Speaking Sub-Saharan Africa: A Look in the Rear Mirror and Lessons for the Future" in Poverty and Public Policy: A Global Journal of Social Security, IncomeAid and Welfarevol. 3; Issue 3, Article. 10
  8. Michael Kpessa, (2011), "A Comparative Analysis of Pension Reforms and Challenges in Ghana and Nigeria" inInternational Social Security Review Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 91-109
  9. Michael Kpessa, (2011), "Retirement Income Security under Ghana's Three-tier Model: Assessment of Risks and Options for Reform" in Pensions: An International Journal Vol. 16, 2, 127-136
  10. Michael Kpessa & Daniel Beland (2011) "Transnational Actors and the Politics of Pension Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa" inReview of International Political Economy, April, 26, pp. 1-25
  11. Michael Kpessa, (2011), "The politics of retirement income security policy in Ghana: Historical trajectories and transformative capabilities" in African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, Vol. 5, No. 2 pp. 92-102
  12. Michael Kpessa (2011), "The Politics of Public Policy in Ghana: From Closed Circuit Bureaucrats to Citizenry Engagement" in Journal of Developing Societies, Vol. 27, Issue no. 1, pp. 29-56
  13. Michael Kpessa (2010) "Ideas, Institutions and Welfare Program Typologies: An Analysis of Pensions and Old Age Income Protection Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa" in Poverty and Public Policy, no. 2. Vol. 1 Article 4, pp. 37-65
  14. Martin Hering & Michael Kpessa (2008) "The Integration of Occupational Pension Policies: Lessons for Canada". Canadian Public Policy XXXIV, Special Issue, 2008
  15. Barbara Carroll & Michael Kpessa (2007) "Enduring, Ephemeral and Emerging Issues in Public Administration in Canada: Trends in Canadian Public Administration over Fifty Years (1958-2007)" Canadian Journal of Public Administration, Vol. 50, No. 4 winter (co-authored with Barbara Carroll).

Book Chapters

  1. Nana Akua Ahyidoho, Elizabeth Asante & Michael W. Kpessa (2013) “Education” in Dzodzi Tsitaka (eds) Ghana Social Development Outlook (ISSER, Accra, Ghana).
  2. Michael Kpessa (2009) "Africa's NEPAD Vision: Ambiguities, Contradictions and Crisis of Internalizing External Models of Development" in A.S. Huque (Ed.) The Enigma of Development: Re-thinking Goals, Strategies and Outcomes (New Delhi: South Asian Publishers).
  3. Michael Kpessa (2012), "Policy Actors in the Knowledge-Based Social Order" in James Dzisah & Etzkowits (eds) The Age of Knowledge: The Dynamic of Universities, Knowledge and Society (Brill, Leiden. Boston)
  4. Michael Kpessa, (2012 forthcoming) "Social Security Policy in the Context of Socio-Economic and Political Transformation" in Carroll, Ayee, and Ohemeng (eds) Public Policy in Ghana (Forthcoming)
  5. Gerald A. Bierling, Barbara Wake Carroll, Michael W. Kpessa (2012), "Comparative Analysis of Stability and Mobility of the Canadian Provincial Bureaucratic Elite 1987-2007" in Christopher Dunn and Bourgault, Jacque (eds) Deputy Ministers In Canada: Comparative and Jurisdictional Perspectives (University of Toronto Press, Toronto Forthcoming in Fall)

Institutional Publication & Conference Proceedings

  1. Martin Hering & Michael Kpessa (2007) "The Integration of Occupational Pension Regulations: Lessons for Canada". Published by the Social and Economic Dimension of an Ageing Population (SEDAP) Research paper published, McMaster University; article is accessible at: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap188.pdf
  2. Martin Hering & Michael Kpessa (2007) "Private Pensions and Income Security in Old Age: Uncertain Future" Conference Report—Social and Economic Dimension of an  Aging Population (SEDAP) Research Paper No. 180; accessible at:http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap180.pdf

Commissioned Research Reports

  1. Michael Kpessa (2012), Local Level Development, Members of Parliament, and District Assemblies, A Commissioned Research Reported Sponsored by the Institute for Democratic Development, Accra, Ghana.
  2. Michael Kpessa (2012), Civil Society—Government Engagements in Ghana: Historical Trajectories and Contemporary Insights, A Commissioned Research Report sponsored by the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana & Centre for International Development Issues Nijmegen, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Book Reviews in Refereed Journals

  1. Michael Kpessa, (2010), Review of D. Williams, The World Bank and Social Transformation in International Politics (London and New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2008), in Political Studies Review.
  2. Michael Kpessa, (2010) Review of J.C. Vrooman, Rules of Relief: Institutions of Social Security and their Impact (Netherlands Institute of Social Research, 2009), in The European Journal of Social Security
  3. Michael Kpessa, (2010) Review of Dingeldey, I & Rothgang, H (eds) Governance of Welfare state Reform: A Cross National Sectoral Comparison of Policy and Politics (Edward Elgar, Chaltenham, UK, Northampton, MA, USA).

Conference Presentation

  1. Michael Kpessa & Joseph Teye "The Diaspora-Domestic Nexus: Diaspora-Based Associations and Socio-Economic Transformation" A paper presented at the Migration and Development: Opportunities and Challenges in a Globalized WorldConference organized by the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS) University of Ghana & MDF Consortium, (Radboud University, Nijmegen, and the Institute of Social Studies, the Hague), held at the M-Plaza Hotel, Accra June 18-19, 2012.
  2. Michael Kpessa "Civil Society—Government Engagements in Ghana: Historical Trajectories and Contemporary Insights" A paper presented at the Civil Society Research Facility Research Conference organized at Coconut Groove Hotel by the Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana & Centre for International Development Issues Nijmegen, University of Nijmegen, Accra, February, 2012
  3. Michael Kpessa, "The State of Work and Social Protection in Ghana" the African Studies Association Annual conference held in Washington DC, November 2011.
  4. Michael Kpessa, "Private and Occupational Pensions Regulations: Comparative Lessons" a paper presented at the Pension Conference, University of Saskatchewan, SK, March 8, 2010
  5. Michael Kpessa, "Stability and Mobility of the Provincial Senior Bureaucratic Elite in Canada", a paper presented at the 2009 University-Public Service Symposium organized by the Canada School of Public Service, 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, May 7, 2009.
  6. Michael Kpessa, "Silent Resistance or Necessary Deviation: Sub-Saharan Africa's Turn to Social Insurance in the Era of Private Pension Plans", a paper presented at the Social and Economic Dimension of an Aging Population (SEDAP) Young Researchers' Conference at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario October, 19-20, 2007.
  7. Michael Kpessa "Pension Privatization: Global Policy Actors in Domestic Policy Space", a paper presented at the Globalization Students Research Group Conference at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, October,23-23, 2007.
  8. Michael Kpessa "The Integration of Occupational Pension, Lessons for Canada", a paper presented at Young Researchers Network (YRN) 2007 conference at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, 27 April, 27, 2007
  9. Michael Kpessa, "The Integration of Occupational Pension, Lessons for Canada" a paper presented at SEDAP Conference on Private Pensions and income Security in Old age, Hamilton, Ontario, November, 15-17, 2006 (with M. Hering).
  10. Michael Kpessa "Europeanization of Occupational Pensions: Institutional and Ideational Misfit in European Union (EU) Member States" a paper Presented at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Conference (Workshop No. 1), Nicosia, Cyprus, April 25-30, 2006.
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