PROJECTDynamic Cities: What role do urban local governments play in improving urban service delivery performance in Africa and Asia?

What aspects of urban governance are most important for producing local service delivery outcomes in Africa and Asia? With support from the International Growth Center, the Urban Institute conducted a comparative study of local governments and public service delivery systems to better understand how institutional arrangements constrain or enable local service outcomes.

Our research explored the authority, discretion, capacity, incentives, and accountability mechanisms of local governments and the political leadership of 42 cities across 14 countries. It focused on five conceptual aspects of vertical governance systems in solid waste management, water supply and sanitation services:

  • the effectiveness with which functional assignments are made;
  • the dynamism of the local political leadership;
  • the degree of local control over administrative mechanisms (such as local human resource management and procurement);
  • the degree of local fiscal autonomy; and
  • the strength of local participation and accountability mechanisms.

The project generated a new comparative framework to assess urban service delivery performance across cities in different contexts, and explored which aspects of urban governance and institutional arrangements actually drive public service outcomes.


Funder Information

International Growth Center and The Urban Institute

Period of Performance

June 2014 - March 2016


Related Links

IGC Project Profile


Research Areas International development
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