Institutional Set-up and Accountability: How African Citizens Experience Subnational Governance

Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grants
Grant Year

Many African citizens experience democracy and governance through direct interaction with local representatives. This project explores the dynamics of these interactions, focusing on the case of Ghana where about 15-30% of survey respondents directly contacted their local representatives at least once a year. While this could be good for democratic accountability, there is thin evidence that citizens actually know the responsibilities of their representatives, which results in misallocation of responsibilities of two parallel offices in charge development and sub-national governance in Ghana — members of parliament and the district executives. This project aims to understand citizens’ perception of the responsibilities of their representatives and and how that affects their interactions. It also investigates how the setup of sub-national institutions affects representatives’ ability to deliver efficient governance. To these questions, I employ citizen surveys and qualitative interviews with local elites.