Some scholars argue that the decentralization policy tends to create polarization, an increase inequality/disparity among districts. To deal with this problem, Minimum Service Standards (MSS) was introduced as key strategy in decentralizing Indonesia. In this research, we are trying to answer whether the introduction of MSS cause polarization or de-polarization in the quality of services particularly in the health sectors. This question basically respond the common critics that decentralization is goods to create equality between central government and local governments but it often does not work to achieve equality among local governments. Furthermore, this research is trying to seek the unique way on how the performance measurement through standards could effectively work in decentralized state. Particularly finding using sample 54 districts from in Indonesia from 2010 to 2013, we found that existing of de-polarization in the quality of services potentially occurs across regions by reducing gap to the targets as set in MSS. Apart from the weaknesses on the validity of self-assessment data such as lack of knowledge and skills official to fill the targets, overrated to the achievement the targets as well as the lack of other independent data to confirm data these self- assessment data; we also acknowledge that the difference in the financial, economics and resources capacity as well as the leadership and commitment of local leaders becomes the main determinants why one district is more successful to achieve the targets compared to other districts.
Mohammad Roudo, University of Birmingham, UK
Tengku Munawar Chalil, Osaka University, Japan
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