Does local government have capacity for enabling local economic development? Lessons from Jamaica
Implementation of the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED)1began in 2012 in seven countries for a duration of six years, to support sustainable economic growth in the region. CARILED has introduced the idea of local economic development (LED) to the ‘development’ debate in the region but has also brought the organisational capacity of local government, and local government’s role as ‘facilitator’ of LED,to the fore. This paper assesses organizational behaviour and capability in local government in Jamaica to determine the state of readiness for a developmental role. The paper draws on two sets of research data to aid its analysis–a capacity audit (CAPAUD) conducted in 2010 and an organisational analysis (OA)commissioned by the Ministry of Local Government in 2010, both of which targeted a sample of local authorities in Jamaica.
The study found that when assessed against established criteria for an LED organisation, ie: research and information provision; marketing and coordination; learning and innovation; and leadership - local government’s institutional and organisational capacity for development is unevenly distributed. For instance, local leaders understood organisational purpose but efforts to give effect to this appeared undeveloped, sporadic and uni-directional. It was also evident that participatory strategies are used to gain information from communities but these were often devoid of systematic research methodologies rendering formal community impact on local planning negligent. Finally there is strong potential for the kind of administrative leadership required by a developmental local government to evolve,indicated by the quality of training, quantum of managerial/supervisory staff, and stability of staff establishment. However, this potential is threatened by the deficiencies in the non-traditional functional areas that are strategic to the organisation’s effectiveness as a ‘facilitator’ of LED, ie:alignment of community engagement/interface with LED priorities, diffusion of information technology in organisational processes, and utilisation of policy analysis and development. These findings contribute important policy relevant information to the discourses in the region about the construction of alternative solutions to institutional and organisational problems in response to the economic crises of small island developing states (SIDS).
Amis, P. (2007) Financing Decentralisation and Local Government to Meet the MDGs Commonwealth Local Government Forum and ComHabitat submitted to Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting 2007.
Barca, F. (2009) An Agenda for a Reformed Cohesion Policy: A place-based approach to meeting European Union challenges and expectations. Europa.eu at: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/archive/policy/future/barca_en.htm. (Accessed March 27, 2013).
Baser, H. and Morgan, P. (2008) Capacity, Change and Performance. Study Report. ECDPM.
Boamah, H. (1989). Public finance in small open economies: the Caribbean experience. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Christensen, R.K. and Gazley, B. (2008) Capacity for Public Administration: Analysis of Meaning and Measurement. Public Administration and Development.28 pp. 265â279.
Brown, D. R. (2010) Institutional Development in Small States: Evidence from the Commonwealth Caribbean. Halduskultuur â Administrative Culture 11 (1), 44-65.
DFID (2009) UK Local Government Alliance for International Development. DFID White Paper Response.Dirlik, Arif. 1999. Place-based imagination: Globalism and the Politics of Place.Review 22 (2) pp.151-187.
ECLAC (2009) Caribbean Development Report Volume II. United Nations Publication.
Hilhorst, T., Baltissen, G. and Lodenstein, E. (2008) What can rural local governments contribute to private sector development? KIT Working Papers Series G2. Amsterdam: KIT.
Ibitoye, I. (2009) Small States in Global Economic Slowdown.Commonwealth Trade Hot Topics Issue 64 (October).
IMF (2012) Regional Economic Outlook â Update, Latin America and the Caribbean. [October] imf.org.
Jamaica. Ministry Paper 7 of 2003.
Jamaica. Ministry Paper 8 of 1993.
Kaplan, A. (2000) Capacity building: Shifting the Paradigms of Practice. Development in Practice, Volume 10, Numbers 3 & 4 (August) pp. 517-526.
Myrdal, G. (1957). Economic Theory and Underdeveloped regions.London: Duckworth.
Ostrom, E. (2007) Institutional Rational Choice: An Assessment of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework. In Sabatier, Paul, ed. 2007.Theories of the Policy Process. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Perroux, F. (1950) Economic Space: Theory and Applications. The Quarterly Journal of Economics.64, (1) (February), pp. 89-104.
Plummer, P. and Taylor, M. (2001) Theories of local economic growth (part 1): concepts, models, and measurement. Environment and Planning A. 33. pp. 219-236.
Porter, M. (1998) The Adam Smith Address: Location, Clusters, and the New" Microeconomics of Competition. National Business Association for Business Economics.http://www.econ.nyu.edu/dept/courses/niemira/980107.pdf. Accessed January 31, 2011."
Schoburgh.E. (2012)Local Government and Local Development: Bridging the Gap through Critical Discourse: Evidence from the Commonwealth Caribbean. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Issue 10: December 2011- June, 2012. Pp 5.31. http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/cjlg.
Tomaney, J. (2010) Place-based Approaches to Regional Development: Global Trends and Australian Implications.A Report for the Australia Business Foundation.
World Bank (2005) A Time to Choose: Caribbean Development in the 21st Century.
World Bank (2005) Towards a New Agenda for Growth.
World Bank (2009) ReshapingEconomic Geography.
Share this article:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.