Local government, economic growth and human development

Project overview

Project lead: Lina Song, University of Nottingham

Start date: 1 December 2014

End date: 31 December 2018

Research Council project page

The instability of many African states has led to diminishing livelihoods and low investment. During the process of a nation’s development, local governments can be vital in adopting and implementing policies to assist national economic growth and promote local benefits. For much of China’s economic reform period, local governments played a key part in driving gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

This project considers whether China’s experiences provide insights into how local governments in Africa may successfully contribute to economic growth and human development. Conducting rigorous analysis, the project will explore the impacts of local governance on the economic and human development of China and two selected African countries, Kenya and Uganda.

To do this, the project will:

  • Conduct comparative analysis of local governance in the three subject countries identifying their policy environments, structures and incentives┬áto promote development.
  • Explore the impact of local governments on economic growth and on production of tradeable goods, whether in agriculture or manufacturing.
  • Assess the effectiveness and efficiency of local government in providing health and education services.
  • Estimate the contribution of local authorities to poverty reduction.

The research team comprises well-regarded development economists from Kenya, Uganda, China and the United Kingdom.