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Does PAPI monitoring improve local governance? Evidence from a natural experiment in Vietnam

Long Giang (National Economics University, Hanoi, Vietnam and IPAG Lab, IPAG Business School, Paris, France)
Cuong Nguyen (National Economics University, Hanoi, Vietnam and IPAG Lab, IPAG Business School, Paris, France)
Anh Tran (Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Development Issues

ISSN: 1446-8956

Article publication date: 4 April 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of monitoring local authorities on the quality of governance and public services reported by citizens in Vietnam, using the Vietnam Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) surveys.

Design/methodology/approach

PAPI randomly selected 200 locations in 93 districts of 30 provinces to conduct its survey in 2010, and subsequently rolled out the survey nationally in 2011 and 2012. Using 2011 and 2012 survey data, the authors compare the quality of governance and public services reported in provinces and districts that were covered in the 2011 PAPI survey with those that were not surveyed in 2010. Theories suggest that local authorities may improve their behavior if they have been surveyed and are, thus, aware that they are being monitored, leading to higher quality governance.

Findings

In this paper, the authors find that governance quality reported in later years by citizens in the surveyed provinces and districts of the 2010 PAPI survey was significantly higher than the quality reported by citizens in locations that were not surveyed in 2010. Monitoring appears to improve a wide range of governance aspects, including local participation in village decisions, transparency of local decision-making, accountability, administrative procedures and public service delivery.

Originality/value

The main innovation of this study is to use a randomized survey on governance as a natural experiment to measure the impact of monitoring on the quality of governance and public services, as reported by citizens.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Jairo Acuña–Alfaro, Do Thi Thanh Huyen (UNDP Vietnam) and Edmund J. Malesky (Duke University) for their helpful comments on this study.

Citation

Giang, L., Nguyen, C. and Tran, A. (2017), "Does PAPI monitoring improve local governance? Evidence from a natural experiment in Vietnam", International Journal of Development Issues, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 85-106. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJDI-05-2016-0028

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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