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Type: Theses
Title: Democratic decentralisation and good governance: the political economy of procurement reform in decentralised Indonesia
Author: Mustafa, Mochamad
Issue Date: 2017
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: Democratic decentralization in Indonesia has produced mixed outcomes vis-a-vis good governance at the local level since it was implemented in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Scholars such as Robison and Hadiz (2004), Hadiz (2010), and Hadiz and Robison (2013) have argued that predatory forces nurtured under the New Order have exercised a powerful enduring negative influence over local governance, undermining reform efforts. However, other scholars have argued that the influence of these forces has been ameliorated to some extent by incentives created by democratisation for local elites to promote populist policies. Where local elites have sought to win or maintain power by mobilising popular support, these scholars have argued, governance outcomes have been better than in regions where local elites have sought to win or maintain power through money politics or the cultivation of elite networks. This dissertation contributes to the analysis of democratic decentralisation and its effects on the quality of local governance in Indonesia by examining the case of procurement reform. Procurement has historically been a major source of corruption in Indonesia, making reform of procurement systems a crucial battleground in the struggle for better governance. This battle has been played out at both the national and local levels. In contrast with existing analyses of democratic decentralisation, this dissertation argues that the extent of procurement reform at the local level has depended on the degree to which progressive civil society has been able to challenge predatory elites, energise potential reformist local leaders and public officials supportive of governance reform, and in so doing create a political landscape conducive to such reform. To support this argument, this dissertation examines the political economy of procurement reform in two autonomous municipalities in Indonesia: Surabayaand Bogor City. In Surabaya, it is argued, progressive activists, particularly non-government organizations (NGOs), university academics, and local media, have successfully challenged the political dominance of New Order-era predatory elites and energized reform-minded leaders and bureaucrats, creating an environment in which the latter could adopt and roll out wide-ranging procurement reforms that have served to promote significantly more accountable, transparent and cleaner procurement practices. By contrast, in Bogor, predatory elites with their origins in the previous regime have continued to control the local government. There has been no significant challenge from pro-democratic forces, as they have been underdeveloped, fragmented, and financially dependent upon local government. Together with new political and business actors who have inserted themselves into networks of corruption and influence, they have accordingly captured local government projects. Procurement reform has been limited, facilitating corrupt and collusive practices. This dissertation concludes by suggesting that analysts of local politics and governance in Indonesia and other developing countries should consider the roles of a wider array of actors beyond predatory and populist elites. It also delivers a strong message to the proponents of democratic decentralization that the presence of organized pro-democratic forces can limit the prevalence of elite capture and ensure that democratic decentralization meets its intended outcomes, particularly in terms of improving local governance.
Advisor: Rosser, Andrew
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2018.
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