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.
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