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LPSI’s Research Agenda

The Local Public Sector Initiative’s research agenda is built around the notion that all human development takes place at the local level. As a result, LPSI’s Theory of Change requires that a country’s public sector needs to be localized in order to achieve inclusive and sustainable human development.

Based on this premise, LPSI engages in evidence-based policy research to determine how the localization of public services and the decentralization of the public sector can help achieve global development outcomes.

LPSI’s research agenda is formed by three components:

  • Developing better ways to measure, compare and understand localization and decentralization (including through the development of the LPS Country Profile Handbook and the Local Governance Institutions Comparative Assessment (LoGICA) Framework)
  • Engaging in rigorous studies to determine how the localization of public services and the decentralization of the public sector can help achieve global development outcomes
  • Supporting the development of information about the local public sector in different countries (e.g., through the preparation of LPS Country Profiles)

With the support from its partner organizations, the Local Public Sector Initiative has engaged in a number of rigorous research initiaives to determine how the localization of public services and the decentralization of the public sector can help achieve global development outcomes:

What is the size and composition of the Local Public Sector?
LPSI’s initial research phase (January 2012 – July 2013)—supported development of the LPSI methodology and engaged in an initial investigation of the vertical allocation of public sector resources in ten countries—was supported by a research grant from USAID’s Office of Economic Growth.

Does more spending at the local level result in better development outcomes?
With support from a number of development partners, coordinated by DELOG (August 2013 – December 2014), LPSI engaged in a global study to determine the Local Public Sector’s role in achieving development goals in health and education.

What allows cities to thrive?
With support from the International Growth Center, LPSI has engaged in a study of 42 cities across 14 countries in Africa and Asia to explore whether urban service delivery outcomes are driven or constrained by local governance institutions.