Good governance is the foundation for economic growth and stability in developing countries. A responsive and efficient government should protect its citizens and deliver such basic services as water, schools, and health care. It should also engage citizens in government.
Urban Institute experts have provided research and technical assistance on local governance in more than 70 countries around the world. The core of our work is in improving delivery and financing of public services, strengthening public management and performance measurement, encouraging civic engagement, combating corruption through accountability and increased transparency, and enhancing local governments' role in economic development.
This paper provides a general framework for understanding the political economy and fiscal determinants of sanitation service provision by urban local governments. The paper will address several questions: what do we expect to influence spending on local sanitation? Do different fiscal instruments have an impact on expenditure levels? Do increased local revenues lead to increased expenditures over the long term? What role do different stakeholders play in determining expenditure levels? The paper first looks at the role of political factors in constraining local expenditure decisions, then turns to a review of the fiscal determinants of service delivery expenditures.
This literature survey aims to review how communication and advocacy have been used to change local
policymaking, programming, and budgetary allocations in the developing country context. Insights gathered
from this review will help structure the first phase of data collection for a two-year research grant with
Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) on influencing municipal public finance for sanitation.
Literature review insights will influence a field guide for semistructured interviews with key policy and
political decision makers, professionals in water and sanitation service companies, and community leaders in
WSUP program areas.
Misdiagnosis is likely to be one of the bigger health-care safety challenges facing India and solutions are not simple or obvious. While resource-rich nations are still evaluating how to reduce misdiagnosis, the conversation needs to start in low and middle income countries in order to prepare doctors and the health-care policymakers of tomorrow. As we have learnt, even a single misdiagnosis — such as in the case of Ebola in Dallas — can have widespread public health consequences. The new Indian government preparing its new health policy agenda can recognize the role low-cost health IT innovations could play in improving diagnostic accuracy, including many that would be useful for rural India.
Today, the Urban Institute announced a cooperative effort with the City of Seoul, Korea, to advance research on social innovation and human development in Seoul. The effort will launch with a workshop in Seoul to identify key research themes, discuss data and methodological approaches, and outline a research program.
Sierra Leone is a small West African country with approximately 6 million people. Since 2002, the nation has made great progress in recovering from a decade-long civil war, in part due to consistent and widespread support for decentralization and equitable service delivery. Three rounds of peaceful elections have strengthened democratic norms, but more work is needed to cement decentralization reforms and strengthen local governments. This paper examines decentralization progress to date and suggests several next steps the government of Sierra Leone can take to overcome the remaining hurdles to full implementation of decentralization and improved local public service delivery.