The Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI)
From Australia to Zambia, we witness striking inequalities in governance and development outcomes. Two villages or neighborhoods, sitting side-by-side, may differ dramatically in the extent to which people participate in decision-making, contribute to public goods, and enjoy adequate education, health care, or other services. Similarly, men and women, young or old, or people of different ethnic groups may experience better or worse governance and development outcomes. Such inequalities in governance and service provision raise important questions. What explains these differences, and what kinds of conditions facilitate effective local governance and service provision? How will decentralization processes impact governance, and where might they allow communities to flourish? When and where will other administrative and political reforms foster the greatest improvement in core government functions and service delivery? In which communities can investments, public or private, realize the most gain?
Unfortunately, we lack the data required to answer these questions rigorously and systematically. As discussed below, in most countries, we are unable to compare governance processes and development outcomes across various sectors at the local level. Without such data, we cannot: 1) determine the needs and opportunities of different communities; 2) understand where reforms and development programs are more likely to succeed; 3) provide citizens with advocacy tools that they can use to demand better services; and 4) undertake research to help explain why some communities enjoy better governance and development outcomes than others.
The Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI) employs household surveys to gather micro-level data from communities, including data on experience, perception, and satisfaction regarding cross-cutting governance issues: specifically, batteries for health, education, security, voice and participation, and metrics of governance. To measure these dimensions, the LGPI emphasizes citizens’ experiences. Individuals are asked, for instance, if they have problems that need to be addressed regarding education, health, and other sectors. We then ask whether they took action to address these needs, what actions they took to do so (e.g., using informal payments, personal connections), and whether their needs were met. The survey allows us to pinpoint individuals who have unmet needs, and to further probe the experiences of those who accessed these services. It also allows us to ask about the quality of service delivery if they have experienced problems, from whom they sought help to resolve any problems, as well as the outcomes of that process. These surveys provide a detailed map of institutional strengths and weaknesses, as experienced by citizens. This information can be combined with data gathered from civil servants, local elites, and service providers to yield a full picture of governance.
The LGPI provides a new approach to the measurement, analysis, and improvement of local governance. The LGPI is a system of information gathering to assess governance (e.g., participation, transparency, legitimacy) and development (e.g., access to and quality of education, health services, dispute resolution). It is also a methodology, using heavily clustered, household surveys to establish local-level geographic and demographic measures. Finally, it is a tool for governments, civil societies, business communities, development specialists, and others. The LGPI collects, assesses, and benchmarks detailed information around issues of local governance and service delivery. It identifies specific priority areas for reform; facilitates the design and implementation of policies; aids policymakers and development specialists in assessing reforms by providing metrics to measure progress; empowers citizens to influence government efforts on improving quality and access of public service delivery; and helps businesses and other stakeholders identify areas of need and opportunity.
The LGPI moves beyond standard governance measures in five important ways:
First, it overcomes problems of user-based surveys, which tend to only assess experiences of those who have accessed services successfully, whilst also going beyond surveys based on perception and satisfaction which, while important, do not always accurately reflect citizens’ experience.
Second, the LGPI measures governance at the subnational level, making it ideal for designing and assessing decentralization efforts. Unlike most extant measures (e.g., World Governance Indicators, Quality of Government, community scorecards), it employs a methodology of heavily clustering surveys at the local level. This allows for explicit measures of local variation in governance and outcomes, usually only representative in surveys at the national level.
Third, the LGPI allows us to consider governance experiences that go beyond geographically delineated communities. Analyses based on age, ethnicity, class, or gender, for instance, allow us to examine how different demographic groups may experience state and non-state institutions differently, as well as the extent to which local inequalities exist across these communities.
Fourth, the LPGI focuses on governance by both state and non-state actors, recognizing that non-state actors and institutions (e.g., the rules and norms governing engagement) play important roles in governance practices and outcomes, thereby providing the basis for assessing how obstacles to effective decentralization may vary.
Fifth, the LGPI permits us to examine and compare relationships between governance and outcomes across sectors. The core instrument includes batteries on health, education, security, voice, and participation, and other metrics of governance and service delivery. This helps to detect unevenness in the strength of state and non-state actors, the nature of governance (e.g., transparency, participation, accountability), and the quality of outcomes
By assessing governance and service delivery at the local level, the LGPI provides critical feedback to help government officials, political parties, civil society actors, the public, and the international development community in the process of decentralization.
Read our LGPI Concept Note to find out more about the LGPI.
The Program on Governance and Local Development (2015) LGPI Report, Series 2015:3 University of Gothenburg and Yale University, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1107/lgpi-report-eng.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development (2015) The Tunisian Local Governance Performance Index: Selected Findings on Education, Series 2015:1 University of Gothenburg and Yale University, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1108/report-education_eng.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development (2016) The Tunisian LGPI: Selected Findings on Gender, Series 2016:2, University of Gothenburg and Yale University, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1173/tunisia-gender-final.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development (2016) The Tunisian LGPI: Selected Findings on Political Participation, Series 2016:3, University of Gothenburg and Yale University, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1150/tunisia-political-participation-report.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development; IPOR (2016) The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Livelihood, Series 2016:5, University of Gothenburg, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1287/livelihood-report-malawi-final.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development; IPOR (2016) The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Land, Series 2016:4, University of Gothenburg, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1256/report-lgpi-land-malawi.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development; IPOR (2016) The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Education, Series 2016:6, University of Gothenburg, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1171/education-report-malawi.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development; IPOR (2016) The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Health, Series 2016:7, University of Gothenburg, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1170/health-report-malawi.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development; IPOR (2017) The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings from 15 Districts, Series 2017:1, University of Gothenburg, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1288/malawidistrictsbriefs-fina.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development; IPOR (2017) The LGPI in Malawi: Selected Findings on Gender, Series 2017:2, University of Gothenburg, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1219/malawigenderreport-full-final.pdf
The Program on Governance and Local Development (2017) The Tunisian LGPI: Selected Findings on Health, Series 2017:3, University of Gothenburg and Yale University, Available At: http://gld.gu.se/media/1253/tunisia-lgpi-health-report.pdf
Key Findings Dissemination, Chikwawa, Malawi, 10 February 2017
Malawi Education and Health Dissemination, Blantrye, Malawi, 17 November 2016
Land and Livelihoods Dissemination, Lilongwe, Malawi, 27 October 2016
Key Findings Dissemination at UNDP, Oslo, Norway, 11 October 2016
Mtewa, Andrew 2016. "Some findings are surprising." The Nation Malawi, Malawi, 21 November. Read Article.
Sangala, Tom 2016. "Malawians' unmet health needs high." The Times Malawi, Malawi, 18 November. Read Article.
Sangala, Tom 2018. "Gender Issues in Malawi: Selected findings from the 2016 Malawi Local Government Perception Index." The Times Malawi, Malawi, 13 March. Read Article.