Service delivery and social stability in Lebanon and Jordan

Millions of Syrians have been displaced by conflict. More than a million are now living in Lebanon, and around 600,000 in Jordan. In both countries, pressure on municipal and public services has heightened tensions.

The received wisdom is that increased public service provision can help reduce social tensions and foster social stability and the legitimacy of the state, especially at the local level. But is this in fact the case?

This project was commissioned by DFID to test these assumptions by looking at two DFID-assisted programmes that support municipal service delivery in the context of a growing influx of displaced people from Syria

The project aims to i) contribute to the evidence base on potential linkages between service delivery, social stability and legitimacy, and ii) better understand whether and how donor programmes can think and work in politically aware ways, and what lessons emerge to inform ongoing practice.

Project outputs

Fieldwork report

Promoting Social Stability and Legitimacy in Lebanon: Can Service Delivery Make a Difference? (pdf)

Background papers

Municipal Service Delivery, Stability, Social Cohesion and Legitimacy in Lebanon: An analytical literature review (pdf)

Service delivery, legitimacy, stability and social cohesion in Jordan (pdf)

Annotated bibliography

Service Delivery, Legitimacy, Stability and Social Cohesion (pdf)

Research team and in-country partners

Core researchers (left): 
Alina Rocha Menocal (lead investigator) and Suda Perera.  
Other researchers involved in the project: Claire McloughlinCaryn Peiffer (DLP); Laure Hélène Piron (independent researcher); Emilie Combaz (HCRI, University of Manchester).


Research partner: the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.

Researchers: Nasser Yassin (Director of Research, IFI), Yusra Bitar (Research Assistant, IFI), Yara Mourad (Program Coordinator of the Refugee Research and Policy Program, IFI) and Lama Mourad (independent researcher)

Strategic advisorMona Harb, Professor of Urban Studies and Politics at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon


Research partnerLeading Point

ResearchersAhlam Shabaneh and Tamam Mango (Leading Point).

Strategic advisorsErica Harper, Executive Director of the West Asia-North Africa Institute, Jordan; and Mohammed Khalil Hussainy, Director of the Identity Center, Jordan.


                                 In collaboration with:                                               Supported by:



Image: Amman, Jordan (premasagar, Flickr)

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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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Tuesday 14th March 2017

DLP Research Fellow Niheer Dasandi has co-authored a new article on how bureaucrats and politicians interact, and how this affects reform efforts. It appears in 'Public Administration and Development'.

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Power and systems, and their role in developmental change: Guest seminar with Duncan Green

Tuesday 21st February 2017

Seeing power and complex social systems clearly is the first step towards supporting positive developmental change, says Oxfam Strategic Director and DLP research partner Duncan Green. He discussed the themes of his latest book at a recent International Development Department guest seminar at the University of Birmingham.

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