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Type: Theses
Title: Staying on the map: an analysis of the immediate outcomes of amalgamation of Palestinian local governments in the West Bank
Author: Awashreh, Majida
Issue Date: 2016
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: Since 2010, a large-scale consolidation policy has been enforced in Palestine motivated by building capacity of small Palestinian local governments and improving service delivery in West Bank rural areas. Theoretical justifications for consolidation anticipate increased efficiency in local government performance based on assumptions of economies of scale resulting from increasing population size of local governments. Arguments against consolidation point to a negative relationship between population size and local democracy and participation. Both theoretical assumptions have not been empirically proven. A large body of literature that investigated outcomes of consolidation has found mixed results for local government efficiency, organisational capacity and democratic government. This thesis uses a mixed method approach to analyse immediate outcomes of Palestinian consolidations against a control sample of non-consolidated units. Due to the unavailability of data on performance prior to consolidation, the methodology included comparative analysis with a sample of consolidations that occurred in the last decade. This thesis argues that internal and external dimensions of local government capacity need to be addressed, particularly financial resources, functional mandate, jurisdictional integrity and democratic government. The thesis had three research hypotheses. Firstly, given the policy objectives, improvements in human and material resources, structure and service were anticipated. Secondly, local democracy and participation was expected to decrease after consolidation due to the decline in the number of councillors, strong traditional ties to local communities and territorial fragmentation of population centres. The third hypothesis was that consolidated LGUs are unlikely to exercise full control over territorial jurisdictions and populations due to geopolitical fragmentation. Findings show that consolidation has mixed results on institutional capacity, negative effects on political representation and democracy and no effect on territorial defragmentation. Outcomes varied significantly between individual LGUs of the same population size. Citizens were most satisfied with improvement in local infrastructure and least satisfied with disruption to social relationships between communities and community representation within elected councils. Results show that post-consolidation capacity is dependent on pre-consolidation capacity of constituencies, state support of consolidation policy, extent of public acceptance of consolidated governments and other reform policies implemented concurrently with consolidation. Public policies focusing on debt reduction and utility reforms have more serious impacts than consolidation on local government resources, functions and sustainability potential. The findings of this study have implications on future local government reform. Structural reforms need to be governed by specific legislation regarding boundary delimitation which provides opportunities for public participation throughout the policy process. Building capacity of local government also necessitates a revision of division of functional roles and fiscal responsibilities between government tiers in addition to resolution of major territorial issues.
Advisor: Nursey-Bray, Melissa Jane
Rudd, Dianne M.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2016.
Keywords: consolidation
local government reform
municipal performance
Palestinian Territories
West Bank
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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