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Local Governance in Morocco and Jordan

The Collaborative Research Center 700 (SFB)

Governance in Areas of limited Statehood

B6 - Local Governance in Morocco and Jordan

Challenges for Local Governance Institutions? Decentralisation in Morocco and Jordan

This project analyzes the impact of decentralization on local governance institutions in Morocco and Jordan.

Decentralization processes are often initiated and financed by international actors. However, little is known about the concrete effects of these programs on local governance institutions in authoritarian contexts of limited statehood. It is our goal to investigate how these decentralization processes play out on the level of local institutions in the monarchies of Morocco and Jordan. Our research addresses four central questions:

  1. To what extent and in which ways do processes of decentralization affect decision-making and organizational structures of governance at the local level, through which inclusion/exclusion is organized?
  2. How do these processes impact the relationship between formal and informal governance institutions?
  3. How are these processes framed in local discourses?
  4. What are the implications of decentralisation for the effectiveness and legitimacy of local institutions?

Decentralization efforts provide an especially effective way to analyze local power relationships. On the one hand, improved participation – and thereby improved inclusion – is a normative and empirical goal of decentralization. On the other hand, decentralization processes attempt to create new governance institutions, for example through the explicit inclusion of private actors in the production of collective goods. 

Taking Rabat and Amman as urban examples and Midelt and Ma’an as rural examples, this study examines how decentralisation processes affect two concrete factors: participation in local elections, and access to water. We approach the project through an explorative, qualitative analysis (generation of the hypothesis, intentional explanation), followed by a synchronic and diachronic comparison (Morocco and Jordan, capitals and medium-sized towns; elections 2003/2009 in Morocco, 2003/2007/2011 in Jordan).