SR-SCP: Separating Powers: Local Governance, Institutional Change, and Political Participation in Indonesia

Daniel Yoo (Ph.D. Candidate, Political Science)
Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Olson Room (Gowen 1A)

Please join us for our final Severyns Ravenholt Seminar in Comparative Politics of the 2016-17 this week on Friday, May 19, 2017 from 12-1:20pm in the Olson Room (Gowen 1A). 

Our colleague Daniel Yoo (Ph.D. candidate) will present. Professor Susan Whiting will serve as faculty discussant. We look forward to a lively discussion. 

Dan will present his paper "Separating Powers: Local Governance, Institutional Change, and Political Participation in Indonesia." The paper is attached.

Abstract: There has been a widespread trend toward the introduction of democratic institutions at the local level across developing countries. Yet, their reception has largely been mixed. This paper seeks to explain why one institution in particular—the separation of powers—spurs local political participation in some places and not in others by testing a theory of how it structures the incentives of community members to become more engaged in local politics. I argue that the separation of powers stimulates local political participation by introducing a form of political competition within local governments, which raises the expectation that engaging in local politics will be met with a favorable change in the allocation of public resources. But I also argue that one important reason why this institution might not compel people engage in local politics is if it fails to disentangle the political connections that exist between members of government. Using a quasi-experimental research design and survey data from 112 villages in Indonesia, I find that the separation of powers leads to a marked increase in various forms of political participation and a decrease in kinship ties between members of local government. But I also find that the likelihood of participation is substantially lower in communities when these connections persist.
Daniel Yoo is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science. His research interests are in the political economy of development, especially on the topics of local governance and access to finance. His work has been published thus far in World Politics, International Interactions, and the International Trade Journal. He holds a B.Com. from the University of Toronto and an M.A. from the University of Chicago.

The SR-SCP is generously sponsored by the Severyns Ravenholt Endowment.