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Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte

Senior Research Fellow
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History and Politics

Dr. Michael Kpessa-Whyte is Research Fellow with the History and Politics Section at the Institute of African Studies (IAS), University of Ghana, Legon. His is a political scientist in the tradition of Comparative Public Policy and Political Institutions. He joined IAS in 2011 from Jonson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon where he was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Post-Doctoral Fellow. In 2012 he was adjudged “The Most Promising Young Researcher” by the Faculty (now School) of Social Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon. Between 2013 and early 2017 he served as a Policy Advisor in the Office of the President of the Republic of Ghana with a dual responsibility as the Executive Director of the Ghana National Service Scheme. Dr. Kpessa-Whyte is the author of several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters; and he teaches various undergraduate and graduates courses relating to the study of African politics.

2009 PhD, Political Science (Comparative Public Policy), Department of Political Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
2005 Master of Arts, Political Science (International Relations), Department of Political Science, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
2001 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon
Current Research Interests
  • Social Policy and Socio-economic Transformation in Africa
  • Aging and Retirement Income Security (Pension) Policies in Africa
  • Politics of the Early Post-Colonial Africa
  • Public Policy and Democratization in Africa
  • The Politics of Development Policy Decisions in Africa
  • Theories of African Development
  • Institutional Theory in the Context of Informality
  • African Political Thought & Pan-Africanism
Selected Publications
  1. Michael Kpessa-Whyte (2018), “Reciprocity, Mutuality, and Shared Expectations: The Role of Informal Institutions in Social Protection in Africa” in Contemporary Journal of African Studies, No. 5, Vol 2, pp. 1-25
  2. Michael Kpessa-Whyte, (2018),  “Ageing and Demographic Transition in Ghana: State of the Elderly and Emerging Issues” Gerontologist, Vol. 00, No. 00, 1–6
  1. Daniel Béland, Rosina Foli & Michael Kpessa-Whyte (2018) ‘Social policy as nation-building: identity formation, policy feedback, and social citizenship in Ghana’, in Canadian Journal of African Studies, 52:1, 19-36, DOI:10.1080/00083968.2018.1425147   
  1. Michael Kpessa-Whyte (2018) “A Comparative Analysis of the Politics of Healthcare Financing Reforms in Ghana in the Rawlings and Kufuor Years”, Ghana Journal Social Sciences, Volume 15, Number 1, pp. 1-29
  1. Michael W. Kpessa & Daniel Beland (2013) “Mapping Social Policy Development in Sub-Saharan Africa” Policy Studies, At 10: 40
  1. 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
  1. 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, vol6, No. 1, pp. 99-110
  1. 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
  1. Michael W. Kpessa (2011), “Socio-Economic Transformation in Ghana: Comparative Analysis of Approaches to Development in the Nkrumah and Rawlings Years” in Research Review, Vol. 27, Issue1.
  1. Michael W. 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 34:12, 2115-2133, DOI:  10.1080/01419870.2011.574717
  1. Michael W. 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 Vol. 3; Issue 3, art. 10.
  1. Michael W. Kpessa, (2011), “A Comparative Analysis of Pension Reforms and Challenges in Ghana and Nigeria” in International Social Security Review, Vol. 64, No. 2, pp. 91- 109.
  1. Michael W. 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.
  1. Michael W. Kpessa and Daniel Beland (2011) “Transnational Actors and the Politics of Pension Reform in Sub-Saharan Africa” in Review of International Political Economy (iFirst), 1-25.
  1. Michael W. 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
  1. Michael W. Kpessa  (2011),  “The Politics of Public Policy in Ghana:  From Closed Circuit Bureaucrats to Citizenry Engagement” in Journal of Developing Societies, Vol. 27, Iss no.1
  1. Michael W. Kpessa (2010) “Ideas, Institutions and Welfare Program Typologies: An Analysis of Pensions and Old Age Income Protection Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa” Poverty and Public Policy: A Global Journal of Social Security, Income, Aid and Welfare, Vol. 2, No. 1. Article 4
  1. Martin Hering & Michael W. Kpessa (2008) “The Integration of Occupational Pension Policies: Lessons for Canada”. Canadian Public Policy XXXIV, Special Issue, 2008
  1. Barbara Carroll & Michael W. 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.

Chapters in Books

  1. Gerald   A.   Bierling, Barbara   Wake   Carroll, Michael   W.   Kpessa   (2014), “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).
  2. Nana Akua Ahyidoho, Elizabeth Asante & Michael Kpessa (2013) “Education” in Dzodzi Tsitaka (eds) Ghana Social Development Outlook (ISSER, Accra, Ghana)
  1. Michael W. 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).
  1. Michael W. Kpessa, (2012)Social Security Policy in the Context of Socio-Economic and Political Transformation” in Carroll, Ayee, and Ohemeng (eds) Public Policy in Ghana (Edwin Mellen Press, NY).
  1.  Michael W. 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).

Conference Proceeding(s)

  1. Martin Hering & Michael W. 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.

Book Review (s)

  1. Michael W. 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 W. 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
  1. Michael W. 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 Presentations

  1. Michael Kpessa-Whyte & Kafui Tsekpo, “Caring Beyond Borders: Ageing, Migration and Elderly Care in the North-South Nexus” a paper at presented at the 10 Anniversary International Celebration Conference under the theme Migration, Security and Development organized by the Center for Migration Studies, University of Ghana, held at the University of Ghana, Legon, 26 & 27 October 2017.
  1. Michael Kpessa-Whyte & Kafui Tsekpo “ Demographic Shifts in Ghana: Analysis of Existing Public Policies and Programs of elderly Wellbeing”  a paper presented at the First International Conference under the theme Multidisciplinary Approach to Ageing Research Across Lifestyle organized by the Center for Ageing Studies (CfAS), University of Ghana, held at the University of Ghana, Legon, 2 & 3  October 2017
  1. Michael W. Kpessa, “Bringing the Elderly Back In: A Case for Social Pensions in Ghana”, A paper presented at a conference on Social Pensions and Cash Transfers in West Africa organized by the Centre for Social Policy Studies, University of Ghana, Legon 3 to 5th Oct, 2012
  1. Michael W. Kpessa, “Sacrificing the Aged in the name of crises: Social Security Transformation in Ghana and Nigeria organized by IESE and held in Indy Village Hotel & SPA, Maputo, Mozambique on the 4th and 5th September 2012.
  1. Michael W. 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.
  1. Michael W. Kpessa, “The State of Work and Social Protection in Ghana” the African Studies Association Annual conference held in Washington DC, November 2011.
  1. Michael W. Kpessa, “Private and Occupational Pensions Regulations: Comparative Lessons” a paper presented at the Pension Conference, University of Saskatchewan, SK, March 8, 2010
  1. Michael W. 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.
  1. Michael W. 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.
  1. Michael W. 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.
  1. Michael W. 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
  1. Michael W. 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).
  1. Michael W. 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.