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How the opposing pressures of industrialization and democratization influence clean water access in urban and rural areas: A panel study, 1991-2010

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Abstract

What drives a developing country's government to provide access to clean drinking water in urban and rural areas? Because creating water infrastructure is expensive, practicality and efficiency considerations might motivate governments to locate such infrastructures in urban areas with high population density. In contrast, we provide a political explanation of how political incentive shapes where governments locate water infrastructures which, in turn, shapes citizens' water access. In our perspective, developing countries' governments consider the competing pressures of industrialization and democratization. Industrialization enables urban collective action and incentivizes governments to listen to the voice of urban residents. Democratization, in contrast, gives the right to vote to rural residents and incentivizes government to provide water access in rural areas. This means that in nondemocracies, rural areas suffer when the country is undergoing industrialization. Importantly for the policy community, we show that foreign aid does not alter such fundamental political dynamics. Foreign aid accentuates the pro‐urban bias in industrializing nondemocracies. Our analysis of 112 developing countries for the period 1991–2010 provides support for our argument about the critical role of regime type in ensuring equitable drinking water access to rural areas.

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Despite allegations that foreign aid promotes corruption and patronage, we know little about how recipient governments’ electoral incentives influence aid spending. I propose a distributional politics model of aid spending in which governments use their informational advantages over donors in order to allocate a disproportionate share of aid to electorally strategic supporters, allowing governments to translate aid into votes. To evaluate this argument, I code data on the spatial distribution of multilateral donor projects in Kenya from 1992 to 2010 and show that Kenyan governments have consistently influenced the aid allocation process in favor of co-partisan and co-ethnic voters, a bias that holds for each of Kenya’s last three regimes. I also confirm that aid distribution increases incumbent vote share. This evidence suggests that electoral motivations play a significant role in aid allocation and that distributional politics may help explain the gap between donor intentions and outcomes.
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While water and sanitation are now recognized as a human right by the United Nations, monitoring inequality in safe water access poses challenges. This study uses survey data to calculate household socio-economic-status (SES) indices in seven countries where national drinking-water quality surveys are available. These are used to assess inequalities in access as indicated by type of improved water source, use of safe water and a combination of these . In Bangladesh, arsenic exposure through drinking-water is not significantly related to SES (p=0.06) among households using tubewells, whereas in Peru, chlorine residual in piped systems varies significantly with SES (p<0.0001). In Ethiopia, Nicaragua and Nigeria, many poor households access non-piped improved sources, which may provide unsafe water, resulting in greater inequality of access to 'safe' water compared to 'improved' water sources. Concentration indices increased from 0.08 to 0.15, 0.10 to 0.14, and 0.24 to 0.26 respectively in these countries. There was minimal difference in Jordan and Tajikistan. Although the results are likely to be underestimates as they exclude individual-level inequalities, they show that use of a binary 'improved' / 'unimproved' categorization masks substantial inequalities. Future international monitoring programmes should take account inequality in access and safety.
Book
The governance of natural resources used by many individuals in common is an issue of increasing concern to policy analysts. Both state control and privatization of resources have been advocated, but neither the state nor the market have been uniformly successful in solving common pool resource problems. After critiquing the foundations of policy analysis as applied to natural resources, Elinor Ostrom here provides a unique body of empirical data to explore conditions under which common pool resource problems have been satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily solved. Dr Ostrom uses institutional analysis to explore different ways - both successful and unsuccessful - of governing the commons. In contrast to the proposition of the 'tragedy of the commons' argument, common pool problems sometimes are solved by voluntary organizations rather than by a coercive state. Among the cases considered are communal tenure in meadows and forests, irrigation communities and other water rights, and fisheries.
Article
Well-governed countries are more likely to make use of foreign aid for the purposes of economic development and poverty alleviation. Therefore, if aid agencies are providing funds for the sake of development, these countries should receive more aid and categorically different types of aid as compared with poorly governed countries. In poorly governed countries aid should be given in forms that allow for less discretion. Using an original data set of all World Bank projects from 1996 to 2002, the author distinguishes programmatic projects from investment projects and national from subnational investment projects. If the World Bank allows more discretion in well-governed countries, then it will choose to provide programmatic and national aid for these recipients. The author presents evidence that the World Bank provides a larger proportion of national investment lending in better-governed countries. With regard to programmatic lending, he finds mixed evidence. Among counties eligible for International Development Association (IDA) aid, good governance surprisingly is associated with a lower proportion of programmatic aid, whereas for International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) borrowers, good governance is associated with a higher proportion. The author subjects these results to a number of robustness checks. Although he confirms the existing result in the literature that the World Bank provides larger overall amounts of aid to better-governed countries, his examination of the disaggregated data leads to questioning whether both lending wings of the World Bank are designing aid programs in the most prodevelopment way possible.
Article
The literature on urban services delivery supports the conclusion that the distribution of services is a function of bureaucratic norms and professionalism, and is largely impervious to political forces. A recent study (Mladenka, 1980) of the distribution of park facilities in Chicago showed essentially no relationship to city politics, in terms of race. Some feel that this study provides the evidence necessary to finalize the conclusion that the distribution of urban services is independent from political considerations.In this paper, we reexamine the Chicago Parks case study. First, it is shown that using a similar research design it is possible to replicate the 1980 findings. Next, it is shown that the results are equally attributable to exogenous variables which were not considered in the earlier study, and which have generally been overlooked in research on this subject. Finally, a regression model is estimated to test several competing explanations of urban services distribution. The results show that efficiency and politics are independently significant explanatory factors in the distribution of park facilities, while equity is not. At least in Chicago, there is impressive evidence that some urban service delivery is highly responsive to political considerations as well as bureaucratic professionalism.Deciding who gets what is the essence of politics. The provision of services to people is the essence of administration.