IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Political Accountability, Fiscal Conditions, and Local Government Performance – Cross-Sectional Evidence from Indonesia

  • Sebastian Eckardt
Registered author(s):

    What makes governments tick? Why are some public institutions more successful than others in managing resources and delivering services? And even more vitally, how can malfunctioning institutions be reformed so that they perform their responsibilities more effectively? This paper contributes to our understanding of theses overarching questions by exploring the interactions between political institutions and public sector performance in the context of decentralization and local governance. It shows -both theoretically and empirically- that performance outcomes are determined by the extent to which people can hold their governments accountable through political institutions. The basic hypothesis underlying this research is that political accountability, either by encouraging sanctions upon non-compliant public agents or simply by reducing the informational gap regarding government activities, will create forceful incentives for elected officials and civil servants to reduce opportunistic behavior and improve performance. Using a cross-sectional regression the hypothesis is empirically tested against evidence from newly empowered local governments in Indonesia. The empirical findings broadly support our hypotheses. Improved public services on the ground, both in terms of quantity and quality, require informed and well functioning decision making processes that allocate resources to priority areas that meet the demand of the broader community.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Institute of Local Public Finance in its series Working Papers with number 02-2007.

    in new window

    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:lpf:wpaper:02-2007
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Mariano Tommasi & Federico Weinschelbaum, 1999. "A Principal-Agent Building Block for the Study of Decentralization and Integration," Working Papers 20, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Nov 1999.
    2. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "The political economy of government responsiveness: theory and evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2308, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
    4. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
    5. Seabright, Paul, 1994. "Accountability and Decentralization in Government: An Incomplete Contracts Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 889, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
    7. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 1999. "Relative Capture of Local and Central Governments: An Essay in the Political Economy of Decentralization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 97, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    8. Wildasin, David E., 1998. "Fiscal aspect of evolving federations : issues for policy and research," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1884, The World Bank.
    9. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1163-1202 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lockwood, B., 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Benefits of Decentralization," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 513, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    11. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," Working Papers 100, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lpf:wpaper:02-2007. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Prof. Jan Wernder)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.