Politics of free public services in decentralised Indonesia

Since Indonesia’s central government decentralised many of its functions in 2001, a few district governments have developed well-funded free basic education and health programmes. Yet other districts have done little to support free service provision. Why the difference?

District heads’ strategies for maintaining and advancing their political careers are perhaps the biggest influence. This study shows that some district heads, ‘political entrepreneurs’, have developed a popular base among the poor and become dependent on their electoral support. In these districts, free public services are more likely than where district heads have focused on developing patronage networks.

This research suggests that, rather than depending largely on funding and management, the provision of free public services is primarily a matter of politics. The study notes the importance of broadening the scope for political entrepreneurship at the local level.

 

Researcher: Andrew Rosser, Ian Wilson & Priyambudi Sulistiyanto

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

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Thursday 15th September 2016

New research from DLP and the University of Glasgow explores the role of higher education in the emergence of leaders who promote development in the Philippines. See the policy brief, podcast and paper.

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Political settlements in Africa

Thursday 7th July 2016

Political settlements in Africa, the politics of inclusion and the role of international actors were the focus of the most recent BISA Africa Working Group workshop, convened by DLP Research Fellow Suda Perera at the University of Birmingham.

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