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Governing favours: An investigation of accountability mechanisms in local government budget allocation in Indonesia. Australia-Indonesia Governance Research Partnership Policy Brief 8

Wilson, I., Djani, L. and Masduki, T. (2009) Governing favours: An investigation of accountability mechanisms in local government budget allocation in Indonesia. Australia-Indonesia Governance Research Partnership Policy Brief 8. Crawford School of Economics and Government at The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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Abstract

Since the introduction of democratic decentralisation in 1999, Indonesia’s national government has introduced a number of policy reforms aimed at addressing the minimal levels of community and public participation in determining government planning priorities. One particular initiative has been Musyawarah Perencanaan Pembangunan or musrenbang. In principle musrenbang operates as a multistakeholder forum in which government and non-government stakeholders can identify, deliberate, and reach consensus on a district’s development agenda and the allocation of its budgetary resources. However, examining the districts of Bau-Bau City (South-east Sulawesi), Tabanan District (Bali) and Bandung District (West Java), our research team discovered widespread irregularities in development planning and budget allocation. Musrenbang has often been translated locally in ways which undermine the principle of participation, and used to consolidate informal patron-client networks with subsequent impacts on budget outcomes. The apparent ease with which entrenched interests have been able to manipulate this participatory forum raises more fundamental questions regarding the nature of public participation. More broadly, our research proposes that in crafting institutional reform strategies—the main approach in democratic decentralisation—the potential impact of local power relations needs to be taken into consideration if desired outcomes are to be achieved.

Publication Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation: Asia Research Centre
Publisher: Crawford School of Economics and Government at The Australian National University
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/39753
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