You are here: Home Project networks Applied interdisciplinary Research in Cooperation with GIZ
Document Actions

Applied Interdisciplinary Research in Cooperation with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)


Internship Program

The internship program supports students of the University of Freiburg to work in GIZ projects in Indonesia. Apart from assisting GIZ’s projects on decentralization and good governance, students are also encouraged to conduct research on democratization of local government, decentralization reform and governance topics for their BA or MA thesis.

Interdisciplinary Research on "Perceptions of Indonesia's Decentralization – The Role of Performance Based Grants and Participatory Planning in Public Health Service Delivery"

Interns/ Researchers: Gerrit-Johannes Gonschorek, Sophia Hornbacher-Schönleber, Mareike Well
Departments: Cultural Anthropology, Economics, Political Science
Time: Summer/ Autumn 2014


The interdisciplinary project analyses the perception of different stakeholders with respect to performance based transfer schemes and participatory planning in Indonesia. The paper presents theories of fiscal decentralization and participatory governance from an interdisciplinary perspective and illustrates a gap between the ideal, conceptualized by the academic discourse, and the actual implementation. With regard to Indonesia's Intergovernmental transfer design, the stakeholders refer to: the imbalanced and incomplete devolution of fiscal revenue authority and expenditure responsibilities, the high degree of uncertainty in transfers, the inadequate deployment of incentive schemes, and the low quality of spending, as the major shortcomings of Indonesia's intergovernmental transfer system. Regarding participatory governance, a lack of bureaucrats' capacity, resulting unsatisfactory guidance of participatory meetings, a bias towards the investment in infrastructure, lacking inclusion of marginalized groups and women as well as an inadequate implementation of participatory planning results, are frequently referred to as the major shortcomings. We present further insights into performance-based transfers schemes and participation designs and how they can induce organizational changes at the health service provider level, improve the quality of planning and spending, and lead to positive behavioral changes at the level of health service users.

You may download Occasional Paper No.21 "Perceptions of Indonesia's Decentralization – The Role of Performance Based Grants and Participatory Planning in Public Health Service Delivery" here.



Interdisciplinary Research on "Alliance Building for Minimum Service Standard (MSS) based Public Service Delivery" in Indonesia

Interns/ Researchers: Mirjam Lücking, Florian Platte, Anna Fünfgeld
Departments: Cultural Anthropology, Economics, Political Science
Time: Summer/ Autumn 2011


Two of the most recent instruments to improve public service delivery in Indonesia are Minimum Service Standards and Public Service Standards. During our internship at GIZ Indonesia and the subsequent work on our Occasional Paper, we analyzed the differences of the two standards systems and their potentials to improve public service delivery and enhance social welfare.

In our fieldwork, we primarily relied on a qualitative research approach. Preliminary observations suggested that the two standards systems are supported by different stakeholders. Consequently, the common research question guiding our investigation was: “What are stakeholders’ perceptions about the standards’ (MSS and PSS) potential to improve
public service delivery?” Through the focus on stakeholders’ individual interpretations of the standards’ potentials we tried to identify synergies and disagreements between the related stakeholders. The sample of informants consisted of development experts, state officials, activists of civil society organizations, social scientists, and service consumers; we talked to a total of approximately 40 persons. Among the state officials were agents of national and provincial governments as well as selected service providers. In both research locations, Jakarta and Samarinda (East Kalimantan), a significant part of the study consisted of participant observation and informal conversations.

Back in Freiburg, we analyzed the collected data from the perspectives of political science, anthropology, and economics. The interdisciplinary analysis is therefore based on political theories of justice, anthropological practice theories and new institutional economics. From the synopsis of these different approaches, we argue that related stakeholders should: Fine-tune the conceptualizations towards a difference-sensitive approach, clarify terminologies, harmonize the two standards systems, strengthen public participation, clarify the impact of practical norms, provide incentives for local governments, support oversight mechanisms, and increase data reliability. The Occasional Paper highlights these aspects as a crucial foundation for the utilization of the standards' potentials. Eventually, well-functioning standards may substantially contribute to the enhancement of social welfare.

You may download Occasional Paper No.11 "How Can Standards Contribute to Social Welfare through the Improvement of Public Service Delivery? - an Interdisciplinary Assessment of the Potentials of Standard Based Public Service Delivery in Indonesia" here.



Enhanced Participatory Policy Formulation through Decentralization in Indonesia? A Civil Society Perspective

Intern/ Researcher: Felix Anderl
Depertment: Department of Political Science
Time: Spring 2011

In post-Suharto Indonesia, where the population is used to highly centralized decision-making structures, international donor organizations have been actively promoting the norm of citizen participation through decentralization as a feature of good governance. Ten years after the “big bang” decentralization as a means of power-diffusion, the idea of bringing government closer to the people in order to enhance service provision and citizen participation still has to materialize.

The gap between the institutional framework of one of the most decentralized administrations in Asia and the reality of elite capture and money politics calls into question the anticipated correlation between decentralization and enhanced citizen participation.

Relying on a methodological mix of participant observation in the GIZ-project Decentralization as Contribution to Good Governance (DeCGG) in Jakarta and structured qualitative interviews with NGO representatives from different thematic and geographical backgrounds, the research tries to explore strategic and habitual changes of these stakeholders. The study approaches a theoretical reassessment of diffusion processes, defining political participation as a norm to be transported. Furthermore it explores policy options for donor organizations in order to define a link between participatory policy formulation and the concept of decentralization.



Personal tools