Impact of leadership and negotiation training on politician performance

Project Active from to State

Elected local governments are the first point of contact between the citizen and the state. Their performance matters for effective service delivery, rule of law and trust of citizen in the state. However constraints in terms of soft skills may hinder their performance.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, a new layer of governance in the form of village councils has been added to the local government system. Resultantly a new crop of local leaders have been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure provision of public services to the citizens and to serve as leaders of the community.

Each elected village council comprises 10-15 elected members from a common constituency. The performance of these newly-elected village councils will be crucial in improving service delivery to villages. In this project, we examine how differently motivated politicians might diverge in their performance once in office. In addition, we explore whether in-office training can help politicians improve governance and service delivery at these local levels.

This project is continuation of a previous project in which we study the incentives of citizens in determining who contests and wins the election. Through this experiment we have managed to alter the composition of the councils by inducing more people to run and get elected in the treatment councils. This provided us an opportunity to collect data on the type of politicians. We will now study how these politicians perform once in the office.

In this project we will provide in-office training to these politicians on leadership and negotiation skills. This will help us understand a few important questions such as: do politicians in general perform better if provided such in-office trainings on leadership and negotiations skills? Second, what type of politicians respond to these trainings? Do more pro-social politicians perform better when given this training? Do more able politicians perform better?

The interventions will be implemented in partnership with Sangam Development Organization, a local non-profit organization in Haripur and Abbottabad. As part of evaluating these questions we will design and implement extensive survey of the performance of politicians, the councils and perceptions of the citizens. Findings from this project will help understand how the capacity constraint at the local level can be bridged using in-office trainings.