Citizen Political Knowledge and Accountability: Survey Evidence on Devolution in Kenya

Opalo, Ken Ochieng. "Citizen political knowledge and accountability: Survey evidence on devolution in Kenya", Governance, Forthcoming

46 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2019 Last revised: 6 Apr 2020

See all articles by Ken Ochieng' Opalo

Ken Ochieng' Opalo

Georgetown University; Brookings Institution; Center for Global Development

Date Written: May 19, 2019

Abstract

Devolution complicates citizens’ ability to assign responsibility for the provision of public goods and services to different tiers of government. Misattribution of responsibility limits the effectiveness electoral accountability in the nested principal-agent relationships comprising voters, politicians, and bureaucrats. This raises two important questions. First, how do citizens learn about the functions of different tiers of government under devolution? Second, how do levels of political knowledge condition citizens’ evaluations of sub-national governments? Using cross-sectional and panel survey data from Kenya (2014 - 2018), this article shows that voters accumulate knowledge through exposure to government services, but that gender and partisanship condition knowledge accumulation. In addition, exposed citizens are more likely to give positive evaluations of subnational politicians, despite the fact that such exposure may reveal subnational governments’ low capacity, ineffectiveness, and governance gaps. These findings advance our understanding of the dynamics of political accountability under devolution.

Keywords: Devolution, Political Knowledge, Accountability, Public Services, Attribution

JEL Classification: P16, P26, P35, Z10, Z13, Z18

Suggested Citation

Opalo, Ken Ochieng', Citizen Political Knowledge and Accountability: Survey Evidence on Devolution in Kenya (May 19, 2019). Opalo, Ken Ochieng. "Citizen political knowledge and accountability: Survey evidence on devolution in Kenya", Governance, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3318493 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3318493

Ken Ochieng' Opalo (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Center for Global Development ( email )

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
51
Abstract Views
445
rank
414,537
PlumX Metrics