Local Governance Project
In collaboration with the UNDP, this project explores the state of local governance in the Arab region with particular focus on countries in transition, providing critical information and developing policy recommendations aimed at strengthening democratic governance at the local level. The study includes activities at four levels in order to provide a comprehensive assessment of local governance. The proposed project would focus on one level of local governance, the level of health and education services provision. With social service delivery being a crucial element of local level governance, the project seeks to collect information on the quality of education and health services at the local level. The project has been in progress since November 2013, and currently operates in Tunisia and Jordan.
Citizen Surveys: In order to include the voices of the population into the analysis of local governance, citizen surveys will be conducted in February 2015 to learn from experiences with local governance since the revolution. Services delivered at the local level by the local government units and local departments of central ministries and/or local social governing bodies are the key areas where the state and citizens interact. The survey sample sizes are constructed in such a way to allow for comparison between the governorates and localities as well as across demographic groups. The survey tool will focus on 6 dimensions of sub-national government performance. The citizen-level study will also include follow-up presentations and focus groups, in which survey results will be presented for debate and discussion of implications and attribution. This allows not an assessment of the local officials and the extent to which citizens turn to state or non-state actors and institutions for governance, but also to determine the extent to which citizens attach responsibility for shortcomings in governance to local officials, national officials, or others. This component is also critical for gap assessment of citizens’ and officials’ perspectives on local governance. It helps determine the challenges and obstacles faced throughout transition phases throughout transition phases and election cycles.
Municipal Studies: Planned for implementation March-June 2015. To complement the citizen surveys and to analyze how the “de-jure” situation plays out on the local level, several districts would be selected in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia to conduct in-depth local level analysis, looking specifically at local government units/municipalities and their interaction with other stakeholders. This level of analysis would aim to capture and analyze the power dynamics of the relationship between the municipalities and the state, as well as the relationship between the municipalities and the citizens. Fiscal profile of the municipalities, outlining expenditures, own revenues and transfers, would also be completed to understand the accountability lines of the local governments.
GLD has collaborated with Kristen Kao (UCLA PhD Candidate) and Lindsay Benstead (Assistant Professor, Portland State University) on a survey examining the local factors that drive political participation at the local and national levels. The survey assesses public attitudes toward local elections, service delivery, social networks, citizen relationships with and trust of public officials, and gender issues. It was administered in April 2014.
Governance and Quality of Service Delivery
This project is led by the World Bank Middle East and North Africa Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The project focuses on health and education and is conducted in collaboration with a World Bank team headed by Tamer Rabie and Samira Halabi, and with Cari Clark (Assistant Professor in Public Health, University of Minnesota) and Melani Cammett (Associate Professor of Political Science, Brown University). The study is expected to incorporate facility studies, municipal studies, and citizen surveys in Jordan and Morocco.
Working Paper Series
GLD has rolled out a working paper series on local governance in the Middle East. The papers are authored by conference participants, visiting scholars to Yale University, and GLD grant recipients. The first set of papers can be viewed here.