“Party Networks and Hierarchical Local Governance in Emerging Democracies: A Case Study of Tunisia”
Department of Political Science
& Fellow at the Ostrom Workshop
January 25, 2022, Tuesday, 12:30
***This is an online event. To obtain Zoom link and password, please contact to the department.
How do party networks influence the local governance performance in emerging democracies? I answer this question through conducting a case study of Tunisia, which went through a revolution in 2011, implemented a new constitution in 2014 and a new local code in 2018. I focus on the relations between bureaucrats and mayors, and factors influencing citizen trust in institutions. I evaluate interview data recently collected among 39 municipalities in socio-economically divergent regions with mayors, city council members, civil society members, and a governor, and I examine transparency data compiled for all 350 municipalities by an independent civil society organization. The findings suggest that partisanship appointment of governors can limit the inclusiveness of local governance institutions through perpetuating hierarchical relations with mayors at the expense of inclusive local engagement mechanisms. An analysis on the Transparency Index of municipalities within governorates with identified partisanship ties (n=206) indicates that municipal governance becomes less transparent when a governor shares a political background similar to the ideological position of the mayor’s party. Evaluating Arab Barometer (2018) survey data on trust in local governance institutions, I also find that Tunisians who support the same political party as their mayors tend to develop greater levels of trust in local governance institutions. Through interview and survey data I link a substantive portion of trust dynamics to the perceptions of institutional performance, such as their degrees of corruption, clientelism, inclusivity and efficiency. The findings underline the importance of party networks in influencing local governance performance in emerging democracies.
Salih Yasun is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science of Indiana University-Bloomington and a Fellow at the Ostrom Workshop. His dissertation focuses on analyzing the local governance institutions in post-revolutionary Tunisia. Salih has a Master’s degree in Applied Statistics (IU), is fluent in Turkish, Arabic and conversational in Tunisian. His published research can be accessed at www.syasun.com