Does Decentralization Lessen or Worsen Poverty? Evidence from Post-‘Big Bang’ Indonesia



Sudarno Sumarto, SMERU Research Institute

Date and Time

December 12, 2013 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM December 11.


Philippines Conference Room

Co-sponsored by the Stanford Center for International Development

Under what conditions is decentralization most likely to foster development and reduce poverty?  Plausible answers include:  a sufficiently committed central government; local checks against corruption; and sufficiently resourced actors able to deliver public services effectively. Indonesia is a good place to explore the explanatory power of these and other propositions, thanks to the country’s diverse local conditions and the rapid and sweeping (“Big Bang”) decentralization that it underwent in the late 1990s.  In his disaggregation of the Indonesian case since then, Dr. Sumarto will examine whether, how, and why poverty alleviation has been helped or hurt by particular economic, social, and political variations in the context and character of local governments across the archipelago.

Sudarno Sumarto was an Asia Foundation Visiting Fellow at APARC in 2009-2010.  In 2001-2009 he was the director of SMERU, a highly regarded independent institute for research and public policy studies in Jakarta.  He has served as a consulting economist for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, among other organizations, and has taught in Indonesia’s leading universities. His latest publication is Explaining Regional Heterogeneity of Poverty:  Evidence from Decentralized Indonesia (co-authored, 2013).  Earlier titles include more than sixty co-authored books, working papers, articles, chapters, and reports on topics such as poverty, decentralization, employment, vulnerability, and economic growth.  His degrees in economics include a PhD and an MA from Vanderbilt University and a BSc from Satya Wacana Christian University (Salatiga).

Lunch will be served.