Discussion Paper Series, University of Freiburg, Department of International Economic Policy 15
Despite the introduction of competitive elections and decentralization, Indonesia's democracy has yet to realize its promise of good government. Public reform efforts have been paralyzed by national political controversies. Meanwhile, corruption and inefficiency remains a rampant problem across many of Indonesia's decentralized polities. In this paper I advance three interrelated arguments: First, that the coexistence of new democratic rules and entrenched clientelistic structures has given rise to elite-centered governance; second, that local government leadership has had strong effects, for better or worse, on district performance and probity; and third, that the quality of executive leadership is influenced, not only by individual-level characteristics of local mayors, but also by local 'topographies' of power - such as the concentration of and the connectivity to socio-economic assets.