Africans should design their own approach to democracy, make a good-faith . In discussing the relationship between participation and efficiency, the in public service and the private sector, is significant to ensure some level of accountability . .. Civil society, therefore, emerges in this form to meet basic human needs at. involvement. There is a difference between an elite democracy where communication between . affirmed as the basic social, moral and political unit. .. The bourgeois public sphere could be understood as the sphere of private individuals. In Fermandois' view the “joint public-private efforts have close relationship” that Chile has had with the private sector in regard to ments and the private sector, key components of a democracy that she refers to as.
One participant stated, "Having worked for several aid agencies, I will add that the donors need to undertake governance reforms. I hope that the progressive and democratic forces in Africa both during and after the transition will demand those reforms of the donors. For example, demand the publication of confidential reports of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They are confidential only in lessening the level of accountability of these agencies to populations and opposition.
I think there should be much more transparency in the policy-making process, especially during structural adjustment negotiations. That lack of transparency has satisfied only the donors and the governments, and it will be interesting to see, after the transition, whether newly democratic governments will open up this process to the press, and I think they should, because it will much improve the structural adjustment process. In most African countries, corruption constitutes an important means by which individual wants and needs, especially in patronage-ridden personal regimes, can be satisfied.
Although corruption is a general problem for all governments, governments of developing countries tend to exhibit the problem in a particularly noteworthy way. In countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zaire, and the Central African Republic, corruption is so extensive that it is viewed as a way of life. Making or receiving bribes in most African countries is considered a practical tactic to look after one's needs and interests, achieving incomes and security far greater than provided by one's monthly salary.
Because of an absence of effective structures with autonomy and strength to check corruption, the governing elites of most African countries have engaged in high and sometimes egregious levels of corruption, increasingly diverting state resources for personal gain. In Zaire, for example, one participant mentioned that corruption has been termed a structural fact, with as much as 60 percent of the annual budget misappropriated by the governing elite.
Foreign aid, noted the participants, although designed to contribute to development, also has served as an alternative source of wealth for corrupt elites. It was also pointed out that, to the extent that government has been immersed in patron-client relations and in cases in which state office is granted as a means to amass personal wealth, corruption has increased in scale and proportion.
One significant suggestion advanced by participants in both the Benin and Namibia workshops was that public monies siphoned off by corrupt leaders and public officials and deposited in the West must be returned.
They made a plea for donors to suggest steps that African countries could take that might help retrieve the stolen money deposited in foreign accounts by these public officials. One participant stated, "Stolen monies do not belong to the few individuals who perpetrated the thefts.
The people of African countries were robbed. If donors were to try to help get this money back, it maybe would contribute to democracy and democratization. Although participants acknowledged that corruption in Africa emanated from the lack of democracy and accountability, they emphasized that corruption is not unique to Africa and also may be found in liberal democratic systems. Consequently, they were of the opinion that the real issue is the absence of institutions capable of tackling corruption.
As one participant argued, "With regard to corruption and stolen money, my own advice is to let sleeping dogs lie and engage ourselves more in how to create institutions that will help make a repeat performance impossible.
I also think we can suggest to donors that we want a change in the form in which aid comes. For example, donors no longer should give direct monetary aid, because this can be misutilized, but could provide assistance in other ways that would ensure it is effectively utilized. For example, it was stated that almost everywhere in Africa "radio and television are under direct government control. Radio is often particularly important in rural areas, and among people not literate in European languages, whereas newspapers are expensive to run and can be subject to government censorship or indirect pressures over matters such as the supply of newsprint.
In countries like Mozambique, the media were assigned a political role as agents of mobilization. In South Africa, although restrictions have been eased, newspapers still retain a high degree of self-censorship. It was acknowledged, however, that professional training is needed for journalists, especially in countries whose press has been under state control.
One participant called for African journalists to train younger colleagues, organize themselves into associations and trade unions, and to sponsor conferences around the issue of the press and democracy. These steps, he offered, "could contribute to the emergence of a free and independent press in Africa, with persistent reporting in turn contributing to improved governance.
It also was pointed out that reforms of press laws will be required in a number of countries. Some participants advocated that a code of ethics for the press be instituted simultaneously with such new laws.
As one participant illustrated, "ultimately, freedom of the press reflects the freedom of society itself. In countries such as Swaziland and Zambia, the refusal of the press to be coopted was a major factor contributing to an open society. In Nigeria, there are over 50 newspapers and lots of magazines, with many of them in local languages and dialects.
Generally, the more press there is, the greater the difficulty government has in suppressing it. Participants indicated that regular indigenous institutions for monitoring should be established, although assistance from international civil society also could be very supportive, ideas that will be discussed further in the next chapter. The use of alternative media, such as drama, news murals, and posters to educate people about rights was also recommended.
Participants noted that, in politically fragmented countries, decentralization might allow the various political, religious, ethnic, or tribal groups greater representation in development decision making, thereby increasing their stake in maintaining political stability. One participant convincingly argued, "With reference to decentralization, I would simply like to say that we have to look at things from the point of view of democratic society.
Are we going to tolerate diversity? If it's a dialogue among peers, then we can't concentrate the political and economic power in the hands of just a few people. I think we have to tolerate this diversity, and political and economic decentralization should be admitted as having the right to exist. We do not have to try to achieve uniformity because it is perhaps not the best thing. I think that decentralization of power is not bad.
It will, of course mean that there is a limitation on the centralization of power in both the political and economic fields. Political centralization has led to economic centralization, which has led to economic crisis.
Institutionally, because most African countries are overly centralized, there needs to be both horizontal and vertical decentralization of power. Participants further pointed out that the power and authority of most African heads of state blatantly override the powers of the legislature and the judiciary.
In other words, because of the personalization of power by the rulers, an enormous gap exists between the rulers and the people. In some African countries, constitutions and other laws have been revised to give rulers the right to exercise exceptional powers. Most participants believed that, in the future, it would be necessary to limit the excessive concentration of power in the hands of the executive in order to ensure some level of accountability through the other branches of government.
There was a clear sense that the role of the centralized state must be limited. As one person suggested: The state's monopoly control must be broken down.
The formal structures in the state are highly centralized, whatever way you look at it. This is the problem as far as the issue of centralization is concerned.
One participant advocated that the state communicate with societal elements, such as clans and tribes, and not just with one ethnic group in society: Decentralization will be territorial and ethnic based. Another participant, however, cautioned that decentralization should not be allowed to result in the replacement of authentic, grass roots leaders with party members. In short, the participants agreed that decentralization could be useful in encouraging local autonomy, strengthening civil society at the grass roots level in both rural and urban areas, and providing ways for women to participate in issues of immediate local concern to them.
The discussions on decentralization also focused on the devolution of power. One participant argued that "decentralization has been cloaked in rhetoric without devolution, resulting in the further illegitimacy of the state and the weakness of civil society. As African states became increasingly incapable of delivering [on their economic and political promises], associational life emerged at the local level.
This often took the form of a shadow state, where people organized themselves to provide basic services that, in their communities, had been ignored by the state. In this bubbling up process, these groups would then try to extract necessities from the state in order to provide services. Civil society, therefore, emerges in this form to meet basic human needs at the local level, not resulting from macro-level concerns.
Public Schooling and Democracy in the United States - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education
If there is to be an efficient link between state and society, with effective articulation by associations, then local government, in the form of devolution, would be most appropriate. In this way, devolution could provide the missing link between the center and periphery in rural areas.
Yet autonomous local governments hold out important prospects, not only in rural areas, but also in urbanized areas, such as those in South Africa. In such situations, there is an inordinate amount of stress on certain ethnic communities or characteristics. This may not always be optimal, as far as the Africa of tomorrow is concerned. But, if we are aware of these dangers, I think we can overcome them.
He maintained, "When we talk of decentralization, I can tell you that I participated in a number of discussions in my country in which the people of certain regions said they were opposed to decentralization because they were the rich sections of the community and they had the mineral resources. Therefore, they argued, they should have more money and their incomes should be bigger than the other areas, as they supply the resources.
Consequently, if centralization were developed in some areas, it was because it was the cheapest way out.
Democracy, of course, calls for money and for financing. Many participants argued that federalism might be the best known mechanism, although not the only method, of giving autonomy to different societal groups, thereby accommodating what participants termed the "ethnic variable.
Yet the difficulty in coming to any clear agreement concerning representation was illustrated by one participant, who asked, "On what does one base federalism? If one resorts to ethnic groups, which primarily are territorially based, then people worry about ethnicity. They see that disputes can lead to intergroup conflicts when groups live in proximity, such as is the case in Lebanon.
If groups live in the periphery, it can lead to separatism. If groups are interspersed, then violent conflict can emerge, as it has in the Balkans and in Nagorno-Karabakh.
There are no simple solutions. Can a country, like Ethiopia, staff about 15 different governments? Moreover, I fear that tribal and ethnic problems could emerge, perhaps leading to disintegration, as in Yugoslavia.Capitalism and Democracy
Therefore, maybe a regional state organized along economic units might make more sense. For us, the redistribution of power and resources is essential. Blacks have had to stand up as South Africans who have been victims of apartheid. Is it necessary to recognize ethnicity in order to move to democracy, as in Ethiopia, or should we not keep our South African unity? Whereas the South African government is pushing for the constitutional entrenchment of ethnicity, the African National Congress believes that to be the Soviet model, which it cannot accept.
I agree that regional concerns should exist, as should regional governments, but the state should be given central powers to allow it to function effectively and to redistribute resources where needed. To this end, I doubt that the efforts under way in Nigeria would be an option for South Africa. Some argued that smaller units might be more manageable, as more people would be involved and ethnic divisions would be minimized, because, in the latter case, the larger ethnic groups would be broken down into smaller states.
Others argued that regional representation with bigger followings offers enormous possibilities to help smaller states. Excessive expenditure, painful tax levels, and distrust of elected officials accentuate the need to focus on efficiency in public services Pierre, Efficiency is probably one of the most fully explored, well-defined concepts in management literature.
It describes the extent to which effort and cost are harnessed for an intended task or purpose. Efficiency is also defined by the most suitable relationship between outputs and the resources needed to obtain them. The quest for efficiency has been at the heart of most traditional works on administrative sciences since their inception. Economic crises and the increasing difficulty of controlling public expenditures heightened interest in the issue of public sector efficiency.
Financial performance, centralization and extra layers of control on public expenditures dominated the reform agenda drawn up in the wake of the sovereign debt crisis. The goal was to rescue governments from fiscal stress and prevent public entities from going bankrupt. Democratic efficiency From a political science perspective, the alternative argument builds on the idea that decentralization, civic engagement, active citizenship and better representation of citizens are not only able to preserve the legitimacy of political action but also to enhance public service performance and efficiency.
The emphasis on financial performance approximate public to private management style, which, of course, has its advantages.
However, it may seriously distance its uniqueness and the respect for democratic values that is supposed to ensure. In fact, no democracy can survive if the government lacks the ability to provide citizens with the services they need. However, no expectations of prosperity are sustainable if stripped of legitimacy Thomas and Memon, Local governments are therefore expected to balance the trade-off between financial performance and democratic values.
Norris centers on the Democratic Efficiency argument, a combination of political competition, and civic participation mechanisms with full access to information that leads to transparency and accountability, which in turn promotes accurate service delivery and financial sustainability.
This approach challenges previous arguments supporting the benefits of managerial decisions without taking into account the political agenda. Particular interests may dominate reform initiatives since popular scrutiny is unable to participate in the decision-making process. Democratic procedures increase accountability, transparency and bring legitimacy to public decisions, which is particularly important when public decisions concern restrictive measures.
Giving excessive discretionary power to bureaucrats allows them to make decisions with a reduced level of responsiveness. We can end up with a perfect solution, technically speaking, but one that does not have any democratic value at all. Public Choice theorists dealt with the problem of controlling bureaucracy by using market mechanisms. Although the market gives back to citizens the ability to express their preferences, this involves performance accountability rather than procedure Pierre, Democracy is an essential aspect of government.
It provides legitimacy to those chosen to act on behalf of the community in the quest for the common good and ensures a system whereby key players are held accountable for their decisions. There is no consensus on the definition of democracy, or the ways it can be measured among academics. This understanding of democracy is relatively straightforward and easy to measure since it is only based on an electoral mechanism.
However, the understanding of democracy has changed over the years. The mere fact of having an electoral process does not suffice to ensure higher standards of democracy Beetham, The definition of democracy as a system in which the power of the people acts on behalf of the people was replaced by a situation with formal power of the people, where civic involvement initiatives with the community were used to target problems and solve them Haus and Klausen, The legitimacy to hold a political office becomes separated from the legitimacy of using its power.
The first is acquired through the electoral process while the second is a constant process of civic involvement. Three significant positive outcomes can be obtained from the effects of democracy on efficiency.
Second, political competition forces politicians to deliver a good performance since it is a mechanism of punishment that identifies and eliminates incompetent agents.
It also improves the dissemination of information through several agents by avoiding situations of asymmetric information. Lastly, democracy brings transparency and accountability to political decision-making and implementation. Adam and colleagues argue that civic engagement and governmental transparency also provide better control of political opportunism by increasing budget slack in service delivery. Working hypotheses The literature review suggests two opposing arguments.
Thus, we ensure transparency and facilitate public acceptance. On the other hand, the opposite argument states that some measures must be decided within a smaller circle.
The rationale of politics tends to shy away from unpopular, but necessary courses of action. The paper seeks to test these two opposing hypotheses. There is a linear negative relation between democracy and financial performance; increases in the level of democracy will reduce levels of financial performance.
The hypothesis is grounded in the assumption that bringing the decision-making process closer to the political arena will increase the risks of vote-seeking and logrolling. Moreover, public disclosure of a decision prior to its implementation may elicit political opposition that will lead to negotiation costs and pork barrel strategies.
The alternative hypothesis upholds an argument in line with the idea of coexistence between democracy and efficiency: There is a linear positive relation between democracy and financial performance; increases in the level of democracy will increase levels of financial performance. In this case, democratic procedures increase accountability, responsiveness, and transparency. The origins of the concept are grounded in the private sector, based on the need to find the ratio between weighted outputs and inputs Afonso and Fernandes, Public service outputs are rarely measured in prices that reflect the costs of their inputs while market fails to give prices for those services.
Despite this drawback, some techniques are used to measure service efficiency without the requisition of defining relative weights for outputs and inputs.
Non-parametric estimations can drive efficiency scores, based on a production function frontier, on the basis of relative distances of inefficient observation from the frontier Afonso and Fernandes, ; Moore, Nolan, and Segal, In this paper, we use financial performance as a proxy for local government efficiency.
We acknowledge the difference between the two concepts, but we justify their goodness of fit for two main reasons. First, we found very little consensus in the literature on the measurement of efficiency. Second, and most importantly, we think that reform initiatives implemented in countries such as Portugal, Greece and Ireland focused on financial issues, cutback policies, and austerity measures. Financial performance of local governments is assessed using two indicators: Government capacity means its ability to ensure institutional roots, and public services Kaufmann, Kraay, and Mastruzzi, ; Stiglitz Financial crises trigger environmental entropy, which jeopardizes this capacity.
Governments become unable to comply with all the demands of public service and begin to rethink the scope of government, opting for a policy of cutback management and streamlining businesslike processes Scorsone and Plerhoples, Public sector productivity captures the added-value of bureaucrats to public service and seeks to assess the degree to which the government structure fits the context in which it operates. FHI House, is widely used among academics to measure democracy.
FHI is closely linked to a concept of democracy based on the electoral process and the presence of democratic institutions Knutsen, It rates countries by civil liberties and political rights.
Conversely, EDI stresses the importance of measuring substantive democracy, in other words the actual functioning of democratic institutions Inglehart and Welzel, Political IV establishes elements of executive constraint and recruitment to determine the level of democracy.
However, these indexes were supposed to be used at the national level. Adapting them to the local level must consider the responsibilities given to this tier of government as well as its limitations and differences.
For the purpose of the paper, we built an index that reflects the reality of local government. The Quality of Local Democracy Index will be calculated using two elements: Electoral competition and pluralism are the checks and balances that hold officials accountable for their actions.
An extremely competitive election will encourage officials to implement vote-seeking strategies to avoid losing the next elections. A narrow win, where the difference of votes between winner and loser is minimal, can motivate both sides. In the quest for popular support, the winner will strive to present himself as trustworthy and reliable in order to guarantee his re-election and a larger win.
The defeated party, encouraged by a larger number of votes, will increase its supervision of the official elected to make them accountable for their actions. Ultimately, we can compare the electoral process to a political market: So, the more intense the disputed election, the better will be for citizens. Together with competitiveness, pluralism plays a significant role in the intensity of democracy.
Municipalities were therefore under serious pressure to increase revenues and obtain financial sustainability at any cost. The Memorandum of Understanding with the troika envisages a set of reforms to improve financial capacity and maximize revenues.
All the reforms began in late and reached a peak in the election that drew up a new governance framework, set to be implemented by the beginning of Reform agendas imposed by local governments can be classified into three main categories: Centralization was expressed through organizational and financial perspectives.
Sincemayors have been authorized to organize their municipalities as they wanted to. Municipal services and internal departments were created, merged and eliminated whenever the municipality saw fit.
The overarching aim is to endow municipalities by establishing an optimal structure of municipal services for different types of demographic configuration. In financial terms, changes occurred in the local financial act. Most of the municipal budget is supported by a grant obtained from the tax revenues collected by central government.
The local finance act regulates all municipal revenues while focusing mainly on the regulation of central government grants to local government. A central council is created comprising several ministers, including the minister of finance, and local government representatives.
If necessary, the council has the power to overrule the law, reduce local government grants and balance the national budget. In addition to this supervisory council, the local financial act establishes two additional forms of financial support, to be used only in case of fiscal stress: In both cases, financial indicators trigger a mechanism whereby a containing plan must be drawn up to specify all the measures to be undertaken to ensure long-term financial sustainability.
During this period, elected officials lose some of their freedom and autonomy regarding central government. The idea is to ensure credit from central government to municipalities under fiscal stress, which, in exchange, can appoint a city manager to control the use of funds. Revenue maximization is mostly felt in the management of public municipal corporations. Supported by the international trend of externalization and agencification, the number of municipal enterprises never stopped growing.
Reform initiatives changed that status. Municipalities ceased to have the power to decide whatever they wanted to maintain or eliminate these entities. As a result of high levels of indebtedness, local enterprises rapidly became a scapegoat for the poor financial situation of local governments.
Nowadays, a set of financial indicators indebtedness, net profit, municipal financial dependency has been established and are applied to all municipal enterprises.
Failure to comply with these measures lead to a compulsory shut down of that local government, in a process directly triggered by the minister of finance. Lastly, reform initiatives also reduced popular representation.
Every municipal jurisdiction is divided into smaller jurisdictions known as parishes. These entities have two specific political roles. The first is to give citizens a voice, identify their needs and provide a solution to their problems.
Moreover, parishes play a significant role in the governance scheme in the structure of municipalities. Each parish is entitled to have one representative on the city council. On average, parish representatives comprise nearly half the city council. The reform adopted by the troika reduced the number of parishes.
Democratic vs. efficiency: how to achieve balance in times of financial crisis
It used the argument of excessive fragmentation and its consequences on the capacity to promote efficiency, arguing that it caused excess spending. The political costs of excluding representatives were completely overlooked in the quest to improve financial efficiency.
Data and methods This research addresses the following research questions: What are the effects on this link motivated by the reform agenda implemented to deal with the sovereign debt crisis? In order to address the research questions in the paper, we used panel data analysis and simple OLS regression, and our database covers the period since The data set was divided into three periods: Prior tomunicipalities did not use accrual accounting to produce financial information, meaning that it was impossible to compute the financial performance index used in the paper for the political cycle.
For each cycle, the paper uses panel data analysis and random effects and computes two models. The first is used to test the linear relationship between financial performance and democracy, while the second tests the consistency of the first model, by adding control variables that measure the economic background of each local government.
Since the last political cycle only includes one yearwe used OLS regression. Our models can be represented by: First, we computed the financial performance index and the quality of local government democracy index.
Then, we used econometric techniques to compute models for three political cycles. In each, we computed two models: Models were computed for the jurisdictions of mainland Portugal. Both indexes were built using the same methodology Morris and McAlpin, For each indicator, the paper establishes the best and worst value in such a way that all indexes became unidirectional and could be combined Dholakia, Each indicator is placed on a 0 to 1 scale, with 0 representing the worst observed score and 1 the best.
Then, indexes are appropriately weighted. For the purpose of this paper, all indicators were equally weighted 0. To compute both indexes, the indicators used are structured as follows: Elaborated by the authors. The level of indebtedness provides a clear indication of how well the municipality is performing and how un balanced it is.
Financial indebtedness is estimated by the difference between financial liabilities and assets. Governing capacity is also estimated by using the proportion of own revenues generated by each municipality.
This indicator provides information about the capacity of each municipality to maximize revenues using its structure, without the need for central government funds. Financial Performance is also computed using municipal productivity.
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This paper considers two types of productivity: Internal productivity is calculated by the ratio between the total amount of income and the number of public servants. External productivity is obtained from the ratio between net income and population. This measure makes it possible to assess the value that municipality adds to its community. Electoral competition is evaluated by means of two factors: A narrow win will therefore encourage incumbents to be more accountable to their voters.
A higher level of participation is a good indicator of an electoral dispute. Usually, competitive elections tend to attract the attention of more constituents, therefore increasing participation levels. Accuracy of competition between representatives is also evaluated by means of two factors: Political fragmentation is determined by the number of political parties in the city council. It is argued that governing bodies with greater diversity are better able to represent and cover all the varieties of preference of a community.
Data for all the indicators was obtained from the National Electoral Commission with reference to municipal executive election of