Gauging the Impact of State-Building at the Local Level in the Western Balkans

December 2012
Südost-Europa;2012, Vol. 60 Issue 4, p565
Academic Journal
Internationally led local governance reforms provide a window into understanding the challenges of state-building at a level of government that matters concretely to the everyday lives of the Western Balkan peoples. Field work is critical for understanding the processes of reform and the influence that international and domestic actors have on them. Over the time of the project, I have increased my collaboration with domestic scholars in order to gain a deeper understanding of local peoples' ideas about and impact on local governance reforms. I am currently partnering with Bosnian scholars to design, gather, and analyze different types of qualitative and quantitative data on an index of local government performance we developed together. We have used interviews with domestic and international officials, Freedom of Information Act requests, observation of municipal government activities, and analysis of local government websites and documents to gather information over a five-year period in randomly selected Bosnian municipalities that have received little international aid and those that have received substantial international aid for improving governance. This comparative case design allows us to better assess the influence of international aid on state-building at the local level and to uncover local initiatives to improve local governance.


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