A Tale of Two Cities: The Political Economy of Local Investment Climate in Solo and Manado, IndonesiaArianto A. Patunru, Neil McCulloch, Christian von LuebkeAbstract: There is little doubt that the protection of property rights, low corruption, and effective public services are desirable long-term objectives of many countries. But it remains questionable whether orthodox institutional prescriptions are the most promising pathway to get there. By taking a deeper look into the political economy of the cities of Solo and Manado in Indonesia, this paper shows that relationship- (rather than rule-) based cooperation can be a key factor for policy reform. Informal deliberations between government leaders and local firms can provide an effective mechanism to improve local investment climates. In the case of Solo, a 'heterodox symbiosis' between public and private actors – involving the mayor and a broad spectrum of multi-sectoral/scale/ethnic firms – has brought about important regulatory and administrative reforms and contributed to a rise in private investment. Solo's informal relationship-based deliberation process – between a reform facilitator (well-skilled responsive mayor) and a diverse 'reform group' (multi-sectoral/ scale/ethnic firms) – has provided a constructive basis for regulatory and administrative improvements. On the other hand, Manado's informal relationship-based process has led to rent-seeking bureaucracy. Given that, it may make sense for local leaders to focus on a handful of key investors. But failing to address the rent-seeking bureaucracy could make development less inclusive/more unequal. And failing to plan effectively reduces the amenity value of the development that happens.
And this one:
The Political Economy of Rice and Fuel in IndonesiaArianto A. Patunru and M. Chatib BasriAbstract: Rice and fuel are arguably the most political/politicized commodities in Indonesia. Demand for protection in the case of rice has traditionally taken the form against price decrease; while that of fuel is characterized by government subsidy to avoid price increase. In general, Indonesia has been a rice net importer for a long time; however, resistance to importation is always strongly pronounced. Consequently, government policy tends to bias against the majority net consumers of rice, a group dominated by the poor. This paper argues that the lobby of net producers is stronger than that of net consumers, because the latter group relatively lacks the incentive to fight. Further, the demand for protection is likely to be affected by the movement of real effective exchange rate. As for the case of fuel, the paper argues that the subsidy policy has been mis-targeted, partially thanks to both populist agenda and public ignorance. Again, the poor is disadvantaged because they can not voice up effectively. Finally the paper argues that the poverty incidence has much more to do with rice price increase (thanks to import ban) than with fuel price increase (thanks to subsidy removal).