Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI)
The Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI) is designed to help governments and citizens assess and benchmark their current success in governance and social service provision. 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. 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?
Developing a Locally Rooted Approach to Covid-19 Response
In March 2020, Zambia and Malawi each reported their first cases of Covid-19, with both governments restricting non-essential travel, banning large public gatherings, and establishing emergency committees to spearhead efforts to contain the pandemic at a national level. These national-level responses are important, but they do not fully reflect how individuals, and the communities in which they reside, respond to Covid-19. The primary objective of this study is to generate a greater understanding of these responses in Zambia and Malawi. We examine issues including: knowledge of Covid-19; attitudes and fears surrounding health and economic impacts; social, economic and health vulnerabilities; social distancing practices and other preventative measures. We pay particular attention to the local variation in concerns over social stigma, levels of enforcement (e.g., curfews, market-place closures, social assistance programs), and engagement of different authorities (e.g., religious leaders, local chiefs).
GLD in the MENA
The Governance and Local Development in the Middle East and North Africa (GLD in the MENA) project aims to create a better understanding of local governance in the MENA region. It brings together scholars from Europe, the MENA region, and the United States to explore a diverse set of issues including service provision, conflict resolution, and environmental issues. It will further explore how authority and governance procedures vary across space and time within the same region. At a time when the discourse on the region focuses on national and international forces affecting refugee crises and terrorism, it reminds us that individuals ‘live locally’ and of the substantial subnational governance variations. The collaborators employ a wide range of methodological and theoretical approaches and examine a diverse set of cases.
Governance under Decentralization: Oman and in the Arab Region
This two-year study of Omani governance under decentralization seeks to better understand the many challenges facing the decentralization process in transitioning states. The study will employ a multi-method approach to explore the challenges to and potential impacts of decentralization. The goal is not only to expand our understanding of decentralization in the Omani context but also to establish sustainable scholarly and policy-relevant networks and dialogues around these issues. As part of this project, we engage policy experts and officials from Oman and elsewhere in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
Social Institutions and Governance
This project aims to develop a unified theory of social institutions to understand how, when, and where they promote good governance and improve daily lives. Efforts to design political institutions and economic policies that promote good governance and development frequently fail and are rarely uniformly successful at the subnational level. This suggests that local norms and rules within societies affect governance and development. However, social institutions – the rules establishing how authority is exercised, actors constrained, and transgressors sanctioned – are poorly measured, insufficiently theorized, and their consequences often overlooked. This study conceptualized and measured social institutions, focusing on the strength, nature and content of the norms and rules governing social interactions. Focusing on gender and ethnic relations, it took a multi-method approach, leveraging surveys, experiments, focus groups and stakeholder interviewers in Kenya, Zambia, and Malawi to examine the links between social institutions and governance. The study yielded important new datasets, allowing researchers to explore theoretical questions of governance and development outcomes, but also aiding policymakers, development specialists and citizens in assessing needs across communities and establishing baselines for measuring change during policy reforms.