A New Paper: The Politics of Free Public Services in Indonesia

What explains the differences in quality and kind of service delivery in sub-national districts which are otherwise very similar? Exploring this question in the context of Indonesian decentralization, this DLP research paper found that the nature of district heads’ strategies for advancing their political careers was critical. Where district heads sought to develop a popular base among the poor and pursued strategies of ‘political entrepreneurship’, becoming dependent upon their electoral support to remain in power, district governments have been more likely to promote free public services than where political leaders have focused on consolidating patronage networks. These strategies in turn appear related to the political effects of the personal networks, alliances, informal coalitions and constituencies of local leaders.

Read the full paper here:

Andrew Rosser, Ian Wilson & Priyambudi Sulistiyanto (2011) "Leaders, Elites and Coalitions: The Politics of Free Public Services in Decentralised Indonesia".

Or visit our publications page to browse our full list of Research Papers, Background Papers, Policy Briefs and Executive Summaries.

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About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more


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