Effect of capacity in delivery of urban services

Project Active from to State

As the developing world urbanises, there is increasing pressure to provide local public goods that allow people to live in dense communities. In Pakistan, this pressure is exacerbated by the rapid rate of urbanisation - by 2050, the urban share of the population is projected to be 60%. Therefore, a robust local government network is needed for the provision of essential urban services. The newly-elected federal government has identified local government reform as a key priority for its term and is in the process of designing new legislation to further empower and strengthen local institutions.

Most current studies of the provision of local public goods start by assuming a competent local government and then set out to understand how incentives and institutions facilitate or hinder public good provision. However, in Pakistan, local government managers have historically had a poor track record of utilising resources available to their offices. With a new government committed to devolving significant funds and functions to local authorities, it is crucial to evaluate the performance of the existing system. This project looks to measure variations in capacity across urban local governments, and propose evidence-based policy solutions to enhance institutional performance.

In collaboration with the Punjab Local Government & Community Development Department, this project aims to identify and measure the critical capacity constraints faced by local government managers. Also, formulate evidence-based training modules to enhance managerial and institutional capacity.

This analysis will enable the calibration of effective capacity strengthening measures across urban local governments. Such measures would include the development of capacity rating mechanisms which can be used to monitor the performance of local governments and administer performance-based grants. In this spirit, the research team is facilitating the creation of a more competitive and resilient local government system, and enhancing the incentives for better service delivery.