Explaining regional variation in local governance: clientelism and state-dependency in Indonesia

Ward Berenschot, Peter Mulder

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

What explains the varied quality of local governance? The worldwide trend to decentralize the responsibilities and budgets of governments has made this question particularly urgent, spurring research that emphasizes the importance of local leadership, civil society and democratic accountability. In this paper we provide an approach to study how informal dimensions of politics impact public service delivery. We seek to explain the varied quality of local governance across Indonesia by focusing on the way in which local economic conditions foster clientelistic practices. To this end we integrate ethnographic fieldwork, an expert survey as well as cross-district statistical regression analyses of local government performance. We argue that the degree of state dependency of local economies impacts the quality of local governance because politicians in state-dependent economies face less constraints when engaging in clientelistic practices. We test this argument through a two-step regression analysis for the period 1999–2013 in which we relate a measure of the quality of public service delivery to expert assessments of the character of local politics, controlling for the potential effects of various local socio-economic and government budget indicators. We find that observed patterns in the variation of the quality of local governance in Indonesia indeed correspond with both variation in perceived intensity of clientelistic practices, as well as the degree of state dependency of local economies. These results suggest that interventions to strengthen local governance need to be attuned to the character of local economies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Development
Volume122
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

Fingerprint

clientelism
local economy
regional difference
Indonesia
public service
governance
politics
economic conditions
accountability
civil society
budget
leadership
fieldwork
local government
expert survey
regression analysis
responsibility
local politics
economics
politician

Keywords

  • Clientelism
  • Indonesia
  • Local economies
  • Local governance
  • Regional variation

Cite this

@article{c9ed99e5ec7145cc8e9f37df5509bde3,
title = "Explaining regional variation in local governance: clientelism and state-dependency in Indonesia",
abstract = "What explains the varied quality of local governance? The worldwide trend to decentralize the responsibilities and budgets of governments has made this question particularly urgent, spurring research that emphasizes the importance of local leadership, civil society and democratic accountability. In this paper we provide an approach to study how informal dimensions of politics impact public service delivery. We seek to explain the varied quality of local governance across Indonesia by focusing on the way in which local economic conditions foster clientelistic practices. To this end we integrate ethnographic fieldwork, an expert survey as well as cross-district statistical regression analyses of local government performance. We argue that the degree of state dependency of local economies impacts the quality of local governance because politicians in state-dependent economies face less constraints when engaging in clientelistic practices. We test this argument through a two-step regression analysis for the period 1999–2013 in which we relate a measure of the quality of public service delivery to expert assessments of the character of local politics, controlling for the potential effects of various local socio-economic and government budget indicators. We find that observed patterns in the variation of the quality of local governance in Indonesia indeed correspond with both variation in perceived intensity of clientelistic practices, as well as the degree of state dependency of local economies. These results suggest that interventions to strengthen local governance need to be attuned to the character of local economies.",
keywords = "Clientelism, Indonesia, Local economies, Local governance, Regional variation",
author = "Ward Berenschot and Peter Mulder",
year = "2019",
month = "10",
doi = "10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.05.021",
language = "English",
volume = "122",
pages = "233--244",
journal = "World Development",
issn = "0305-750X",
publisher = "Elsevier BV",

}

Explaining regional variation in local governance: clientelism and state-dependency in Indonesia. / Berenschot, Ward; Mulder, Peter.

In: World Development, Vol. 122, 10.2019, p. 233-244.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Explaining regional variation in local governance: clientelism and state-dependency in Indonesia

AU - Berenschot, Ward

AU - Mulder, Peter

PY - 2019/10

Y1 - 2019/10

N2 - What explains the varied quality of local governance? The worldwide trend to decentralize the responsibilities and budgets of governments has made this question particularly urgent, spurring research that emphasizes the importance of local leadership, civil society and democratic accountability. In this paper we provide an approach to study how informal dimensions of politics impact public service delivery. We seek to explain the varied quality of local governance across Indonesia by focusing on the way in which local economic conditions foster clientelistic practices. To this end we integrate ethnographic fieldwork, an expert survey as well as cross-district statistical regression analyses of local government performance. We argue that the degree of state dependency of local economies impacts the quality of local governance because politicians in state-dependent economies face less constraints when engaging in clientelistic practices. We test this argument through a two-step regression analysis for the period 1999–2013 in which we relate a measure of the quality of public service delivery to expert assessments of the character of local politics, controlling for the potential effects of various local socio-economic and government budget indicators. We find that observed patterns in the variation of the quality of local governance in Indonesia indeed correspond with both variation in perceived intensity of clientelistic practices, as well as the degree of state dependency of local economies. These results suggest that interventions to strengthen local governance need to be attuned to the character of local economies.

AB - What explains the varied quality of local governance? The worldwide trend to decentralize the responsibilities and budgets of governments has made this question particularly urgent, spurring research that emphasizes the importance of local leadership, civil society and democratic accountability. In this paper we provide an approach to study how informal dimensions of politics impact public service delivery. We seek to explain the varied quality of local governance across Indonesia by focusing on the way in which local economic conditions foster clientelistic practices. To this end we integrate ethnographic fieldwork, an expert survey as well as cross-district statistical regression analyses of local government performance. We argue that the degree of state dependency of local economies impacts the quality of local governance because politicians in state-dependent economies face less constraints when engaging in clientelistic practices. We test this argument through a two-step regression analysis for the period 1999–2013 in which we relate a measure of the quality of public service delivery to expert assessments of the character of local politics, controlling for the potential effects of various local socio-economic and government budget indicators. We find that observed patterns in the variation of the quality of local governance in Indonesia indeed correspond with both variation in perceived intensity of clientelistic practices, as well as the degree of state dependency of local economies. These results suggest that interventions to strengthen local governance need to be attuned to the character of local economies.

KW - Clientelism

KW - Indonesia

KW - Local economies

KW - Local governance

KW - Regional variation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85066978015&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85066978015&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.05.021

DO - 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.05.021

M3 - Article

VL - 122

SP - 233

EP - 244

JO - World Development

JF - World Development

SN - 0305-750X

ER -