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Last updated January 31, 2023
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Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-08) Barron, Patrick ; Kaiser, Kai ; Pradhan, MennoThe widespread presence of local conflict characterizes many developing countries such as Indonesia. Outbreaks of violent conflict not only have direct costs for lives, livelihoods, and material property, but may also have the potential to escalate further. Recent studies on large-scale "headline" conflicts have tended to exclude the systematic consideration of local conflict, in large part due to the absence of representative data at low levels of geographic specification. This paper is a first attempt to correct for that. We evaluate a unique dataset compiled by the Indonesian government, the periodic Village Potential Statistics (PODES), which seeks to map conflict across all of Indonesia's 69,000 villages/neighborhoods. The data confirm that conflict is prevalent beyond well publicized "conflict regions," and that it can be observed across the archipelago. The data report largely violent conflict in 7.1 percent of Indonesia's lowest administrative tier (rural desa and urban kelurahan). Integrating examples from qualitative fieldwork, we assess issues in the measurement of local conflict for quantitative analysis, and adopt an empirical framework to examine potential associations with poverty, inequality, shocks, ethnic and religious diversity/inequality, and community-level associational and security arrangements. The quantitative analysis shows positive correlations between local conflict and unemployment, inequality, natural disasters, changes in sources of incomes, and clustering of ethnic groups within villages. The institutional variables indicate that the presence of places of worship is associated with less conflict, while the presence of religious groups and traditional culture (adat) institutions are associated with conflict. We conclude by suggesting future areas of research, notably on the role of group inequality and inference, and suggest ways to improve the measurement of conflict in the village census.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-02) Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Narayan, Ambar ; Dasgupta, Basab ; Kaiser, KaiThis paper takes advantage of the exogenous phasing of direct elections in districts and applies the double-difference estimator to measure impacts on (i) human development outcomes and (ii) the pattern of public spending and revenue generation at the district level. The analysis reveals that four years after the switch to direct elections, there have been no significant effects on human development outcomes. However, the estimates of the impact of Pilkada on health expenditures at the district level suggest that directly elected district officials may have become more responsive to local needs at least in the area of health. The composition of district expenditures changes considerably during the year and sometimes the year before the elections, shifting toward expenditure categories that allow incumbent district heads running as candidates in the direct elections to "buy" voter support. Electoral reforms did not lead to higher revenue generation from own sources and had no effect on the budget surplus of districts with directly elected heads.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-05) Hofman, Bert ; Kadjatmiko ; Kaiser, Kai ; Suharnoko Sjahrir, BambangThis paper presents a methodology to evaluate fiscal decentralization focusing on the potential mis-targeting of intergovernmental fiscal equalization transfers. The approach builds on an explicit comparison and the summary measurement of different (horizontal) allocation distributions across states or localities. Whereas formula-based fiscal transfers have the merit of being transparent and promoting revenue predictability in fiscal decentralization, in practice, two challenges emerge: (1) What are the appropriate formula designs given the sub-national data constraints evident in most decentralizing developing countries? and (2) How costly in terms of mis-targeting to the presumed expenditure needs and fiscal capacity are deviations from these types of benchmark formulas (for example, due to historical factors or the need to meet establishment costs such as civil service wages)? The authors illustrate this approach by assessing Indonesia's evolving intergovernmental fiscal system instituted in the 2001 Big Bang decentralization. The discussion comes against Indonesia's recent policy decision to fully fund sub-national civil servant wages as part of the base general allocation grant (DAU) transfers, raising questions about both incentive effects for local governments and potential mis-targeting. The authors identify potential efficiency losses from the DAU's horizontal misallocation from half a dozen alternative scenarios found in the policy dialogue, ranging from 9 to 30 percent-on the order of US$ 3.9 billion-of the overall annual size of this large intergovernmental transfer. The scale of these tradeoffs highlights the importance of intergovernmental transfers in more general debates in public finance for decentralized countries.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2005-01) Deichmann, Uwe ; Kaiser, Kai ; Lall, Somik V. ; Shalizi, ZmarakHow effective are public interventions in addressing significant regional disparities in formal manufacturing concentration in a developing economy? The authors examine the aggregate and sectoral geographic concentration of manufacturing industries for Indonesia, and estimate the impact of factors influencing location choice at the firm level. They distinguish between natural advantage, including infrastructure endowments, wage rates, and natural resource endowments, and production externalities, arising from the co-location of firms in the same or complementary industries. The methodology pays special attention to empirically distinguishing the impact of measured production externalities from unobserved local characteristics. Depending on the sector, the authors find that a mix of both forms of regional advantage explains the geographic distribution of firms. Based on the estimated location choice model, they illustrate the potential impacts of policy interventions on manufacturing distribution by simulating the effectiveness of transport improvements on relocation of firms. Their findings suggest that improvements in transport infrastructure may only have limited effects in attracting industry to secondary industrial centers outside of Java, especially in sectors already established in leading regions. The findings underscore the challenges for addressing the industrial fortunes of lagging regions, either through local decentralized policy interventions or national policies focused on infrastructure development.
Publication( 2011-03-01) Skoufias, Emmanuel ; Narayan, Ambar ; Dasgupta, Basab ; Kaiser, KaiThis paper takes advantage of the exogenous phasing of direct elections in districts and applies the double difference estimator to: (i) measure impacts on the pattern of public spending and revenue generation at the district level; and (ii) investigate the heterogeneity of the impacts on public spending. The authors confirm that the electoral reforms had positive effects on district expenditures and these effects were mainly due to the increases in expenditures in the districts outside Java and Bali and the changes in expenditures brought about by non-incumbents elected in the districts. Electoral reforms also led to higher revenue generation from own sources and to higher budget surplus. Finally, the analysis finds that in anticipation of the forthcoming direct elections, district governments tend to have higher current expenditures on public works.