New Local Economic Governance Book
The Asia Foundation has released the new book, Innovations in Strengthening Local Economic Governance in Asia. Download the book now. The book summarizes The Asia Foundation's experience designing and implementing programs aimed at strengthening economic governance in Asia. Read an excerpt by V. Bruce J. Tolentino, the Foundation's Chief Economist and Director of of Economic Reform and Development Programs.
Local and Participatory Economic Governance
Over the past several decades, broad-based and market-led economic growth has been the critical factor enabling hundreds of millions of Asians to rise out of poverty. Yet the dramatic national statistics mask continuing and in some cases even worsening inequalities in economic performance and welfare within Asian countries. Growth and income increases have generally been confined to the urban centers and areas benefited by superior geographical endowments and infrastructure.
The Asia Foundation understands that research and analysis in isolation does not effect change, particularly when current policies and institutions flow from interests which inevitably are resistant to change. The Foundation has directed substantial attention to the intersection between the delivery of public services and poverty.
An essential aspect of the Foundation's strategy is to work with various civil society groups to enhance their role and effectiveness in policy reform. Such groups include farmers' groups, Chambers of Commerce, associations of women entrepreneurs, guilds and crafts associations, nongovernmental organizations, community groups, and other civil society organizations. The Foundation then provides technical assistance to enact reform measures, using tools such as Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIA), dialogue, and the sharing of best practices in policy reform measures.
The Foundation's strategy explicitly focuses not just on increasing expenditures, but also encourages broad assessment of local resources and the allocation processes. The Foundation works with the poor and their representatives, and expands the set of partners working with government on public service issues to include small business owners, academics, professional associations, and other civil society organizations.