Winning Competitive Grants For Regional Development in Albania: The Role of Local Leaders
In post-socialist countries, regional development and decentralization has been a fast process accompanied by strong deregulation and significant institutional changes. Despite the reforms in Albania, local government units (LGUs) are often significantly underfunded, understaffed and depend heavily on grants from the central government. The focus of this study is the Regional Development Fund (RDF), a competitive investment fund which finances LGUs investments. We aim to analyze the factors influencing the LGU access to RDF funds, based on a survey with LGU leaders. Political affiliation of the LGU leader, networking and the knowledge the LGU leader about the RDF procedure are important factors affecting access to RDF funds. Interestingly, however, the factors that correlate with the number of applications are different from those that explain the success rate of those applications. Our findings call for a further institutionalization of the process in order to reduce the (informal) personal and political affiliation based influences in the RDF competition.
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