Melbourne School of Government - Theses
Now showing items 1-10 of 10
Governing disability in Indonesia: lesson learnt from self-directed disability support in Australia
This study investigates the possibilities of implementing self-directed disability support (SDDS) in Indonesia by drawing on Australian SDDS framework as case study. Through a thematic analysis of documents relating to the most recent reforms to Australian disability policy, the study explores the specific issues arising from the Australian case in implementing SDDS framework and define the six care and support right principle to be taken in the study of Indonesian case. It highlights the ethics of care perspective, right-based discourse and citizenship rights framework which manifested through a set of principles for designing and evaluating care and support policy. The principle is an extending previous academic effort from a scholar that used in the study that provide a more comprehensive guidance to formulating policies that promoting equal choice, control and independence to PwD. Applying the principle to the case study demonstrates how SDDS framework is successfully in governing disability in Australia. It shows Australian experience in designing policies that afford equal care and support rights to PwD by situating choice, control and independence as core of social citizenship. Given the detailed guidance in formulating disability policy, Australian SDDS context is useful as policy learning for exploring how promoting citizens right through independence, choice and control could address Indonesian paternalistic disability policy. Using the principle to the existing Indonesian disability policy, the findings shows that the current Indonesian disability policy does not fully address either ethics of care perspective and social citizenship right to obtain and to give care and support right services. The policy at best indirectly offers a continuing payment cohort of PwD particularly with severe medical condition yet only to fulfill basic needs. As regard to the great differences of both Australian and Indonesian context, it is evident from the study that the socio-cultural and political context in Indonesia is creating new possibilities of SDDS as the new framework to reform the current disability in Indonesia because SDDS framework is relevant in terms of sociologically, philosophically and juridically in the contemporary Indonesia.
Evaluation and value for money: development of an approach using explicit evaluative reasoning
There is increasing scrutiny on social investments to determine whether they deliver value for money (VFM), but current approaches to assessing VFM are incomplete. The disciplines of economics and evaluation share an interest in valuing resource use, but tend to operate as complementary or rival disciplines rather than being integrated within an overarching logic. Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is often regarded as the gold standard for evaluating VFM, but has recognised limitations. For example, collective values, distributive justice, power dynamics, public dialogue, and qualitative evidence are peripheral to the method. Conversely, program evaluation offers more capacious approaches to determining value but rarely includes costs, let alone reconciling value added with value consumed. This disciplinary divide may diminish capacity for good resource allocation decisions. The aim of this theory-building research was to develop a model to guide the evaluation of VFM in social policies and programs. A conceptual model was developed through critical analysis of literature, proposing requirements for good evaluation of VFM. Gap analysis was conducted to determine the extent to which CBA can meet the requirements of the conceptual model. Cumulative findings from the first two studies were dissected into a series of theoretical propositions. A process model was developed, identifying a series of steps that should be followed to operationalise the conceptual model. Case studies of real-world VFM evaluations in two international development programs were analysed to assess the conceptual quality of the theoretical propositions. This research makes seven significant and novel contributions to the field of evaluation. First, VFM is an evaluative question, demanding a judgement based on logical argument and evidence. Second, VFM is a shared domain of two disciplines, because it is concerned with merit, worth and significance (the domain of evaluation) and resource allocation (the domain of economics). Third, CBA is not a rival to evaluation; it is evaluation. It evaluates an important dimension of VFM (aggregate wellbeing) and can strengthen the validity of an evaluation. Fourth, CBA is not the whole evaluation; it is usually insufficient on its own because of limitations in its scope and warrants. Fifth, a stronger approach involves explicit evaluative reasoning, with methods tailored to context including judicious use of economic methods where feasible and appropriate. Sixth, program evaluation standards should guide economic evaluation, and this has implications for the way CBA is used including the nature and extent of stakeholder involvement, the use of CBA in conjunction with other methods, and decisions about when not to use CBA. Seventh, the case studies are themselves a contribution, modelling the use of probative inference to corroborate the propositions of the conceptual model. Ultimately, this thesis provides proof of concept for a practical theory to guide evaluation of VFM in social policies and programs.
The liberating potential of the web?: the ambivalent power of the internet in Chinese democratisation
To what extent does the internet contribute to democratisation in China? This thesis tests competing answers to this question. It does so by critically bridging the views that frame the internet as a revolutionary force (or an inherently liberating power) and the views that dismiss its potential to democratise authoritarian states. The study contributes to the academic discourse on the liberating potential of the internet. Specifically, does the internet act as a revolutionary power which can guarantee a transition to democracy in China or bring about fundamental, unprecedented democratic processes? And if it does not, then, how does the internet promote and, at the same time, hamper democratisation in China? To better understand such mechanisms, it is necessary to examine the dynamic power competition between the government and the people over ideological control/independence. For its main case study, the thesis examines how the proliferation of the internet in China triggers fears of the government about the so-called Westernisation. This concern has emerged since 2011 and reached a peak in 2014. Being embedded in the Chinese context and analysed from its historical evolution, this concern about Westernisation suggests that the government is in fact worrying about its legitimacy and control over ideology. Focussing on this case study and using a methodology of comparative historical analysis, the thesis argues that the role of the internet in fostering democracy in China is not revolutionary but essentially an ambivalent one. Firstly, since Chinese democratisation began in the 1980s before the proliferation of cyberspace, the internet is not a necessary condition for the occurrence of democratisation in China and therefore should not be regarded as a revolutionary power. In addition, the thesis finds that the liberating potential of the internet is limited to its facilitation of existing democratic processes. Moreover, even with this progress, the internet can also be used to delay such democratic developments, as we can see with the Chinese government’s effective counter policies. This means that the internet is not only unlikely to cause a transition to a democratic system in China, but also that its liberating potential is severely limited – if not an actual barrier to democratisation.
The role of microfinance as a tool for economic empowerment of women in Lahore and adjoining rural areas
During the last three decades, the micro finance sector has witnessed immense growth, being seen as a tool for poverty alleviation and bringing financial sustainability through provision of micro loans to lower income groups in most parts of the developing world. However, researchers are widely divided on the efficacy of the contemporary micro finance model to achieve the desired goals including as a source of socio-economic empowerment for poor people, especially women. This research is undertaken to evaluate the impact of microfinance on women empowerment in Pakistan to determine how the provision of microcredit to women from lower income groups affected their lives and brought betterment or otherwise. More specifically it looks at whether women were able to enhance their income and control over assets, self-confidence, participation in household expenditures, decision making power and autonomy as outlined in the analytical framework of the ‘Virtuous Spiral’ presented by Mayoux. The research adapts a qualitative approach and is based upon semi-structured interviews and focussed group meetings, which leads to an examination of what motivated women to acquire micro loans, how these loans were used and what effects did these loans have in generating economic activity and increasing their income. The study has its limitations and is confined to slum/rural areas adjacent to the provincial capital of the Punjab province of Pakistan, Lahore, on account of its scope, time, resources, and budgetary constraints. The researcher is cognizant of the fact that these very constraints and limitations do not allow the researcher to thoroughly examine the above stated phenomena and the hypothetical framework in as much detail as required by the much larger scope of the contemporary micro finance model. However it can be expected that the research provides for a limited input regarding the impact of micro loans on the socio-economic status of poor women within their households in a male dominated society like Pakistan; a country ranked very low by international agencies in terms of gender equality and high on discrimination against women. The study concludes with the results in relation to the above mentioned questions and revisits the Virtuous Spiral framework.
Does the implementation of a formal performance management system improve employee performance? Perspective of Indonesian civil servants
Recently, a new individual performance management system (PPKP) was introduced within the Indonesian civil service system. The purpose was to stimulate employees’ performance which was expected to have a great impact to improve the quality of Indonesian public service. As such, the primary aim of this thesis is to examine whether the implementation of the individual performance management system may improve employees’ performance by analysing perceptions of Indonesian civil servants towards the ideal view and actual experience in PPKP. This thesis is an exploratory study which combines a review of the literature on performance management frameworks, including relevant empirical evidence across countries and Indonesian context, with the primary data of Indonesian civil servants’ perspectives from the survey. The survey uses the Australia Awards Scholarship awardees civil servants as the sample of the population. The findings focus on four specific themes: goal-setting, feedbacks, motivational instruments and leadership as they have been shown to be fundamental to performance management system practice both in global and Indonesian context. This thesis contributes to the performance management literature, particularly in the Indonesian context. It also provides understanding of the implementation of the new individual performance management system and how it compares to previous approaches, drawing on the actual experience of civil servants. Our findings show a significant gap between the ideal view of performance management and actual experiences of the respondents. Our findings also confirm the importance of the four highlighted themes within the performance management system. This thesis highlights insights and ideas from respondents and points to a number of areas that the government and may want to focus on to improve performance management practice
The political economy of contestation over land resources in Cambodia
In the social movement literature, scholars have proposed that the success or failure of social movements is shaped by several factors, including: social movement strategies and organisational arrangements; cost-benefit calculations informing government responses to social movement demands; the openness of political opportunity structures; and capacity of social movements to mobilise resources and access transnational networks to support their demands. Influenced predominantly by the experiences of social movements in the global North, the propositions of these scholars fail to adequately account for the performance of social movements operating within certain political regime types prevalent in the global South. As a contribution to bridging this gap, this thesis explains why some movements of civil society organisations (CSOs) in Cambodia fail while others succeed, within a context of struggle for political survival by the neo-patrimonial patron of the regime. The thesis focuses on CSO movements engaged in contesting economic land concessions granted to foreign companies in Cambodia and, in so doing, substantiates new empirical and theoretical links between social movements and the political survival of varying regime types. The study employed a qualitative process-tracing method to examine two cases of CSO movements targeting subordinate government institutions (e.g. provincial offices and ministries) and foreign companies investing in agro-industrial land. The CSOs in the two cases demanded remedy for similar adverse social, economic and environmental impacts caused by large-scale land acquisition for agro-industries. However, they achieved substantially different degrees of success and failure. The thesis argues that a primary factor explaining this variation is the choice of ‘balancing strategies’ employed by the regime’s patron to secure its own political survival by manoeuvring between concessive and repressive responses. To survive politically, the patron tends, on the one hand, to employ repressive measures to deal with opposition, including CSOs that challenge the members of the winning coalitions (influential supporters of the regime’s patron); on the other, it deploys concessive measures to co-opt and circumvent opposition. These strategies illuminate the patron’s calculation of risks and rewards, embodied as the maintenance of political support from the winning coalitions’ members and the placating of aggrieved communities through the relative use of concessive or repressive responses. The way in which the patron calculates risks and rewards is contingent upon their perception of whether or not the movements put the regime and its winning coalitions at risk. The main reference point in making such calculations of risk is the regime’s survival. These strategies to cope with different CSO movements are adopted not only by the central patron, but also by its subordinate institutions. In one case involving a land concession held by a senator who is also known as a sugar baron, although the CSO movements employed strong strategies, such as: an escalation from domestic to international strategies; the creation of a formal organisational arrangement; external networking; and the adoption of a stance aligned with some political elites, they failed to achieve most of their demands. They were relatively unsuccessful because the subordinate institutions, especially the provincial office, chose to repress the CSO movements due to influence from the sugar baron, a member of the winning coalitions. In contrast, CSO movements targeting a European company employed relatively weak strategies (i.e. weak networking, an informal organisational set-up and the seeking of support from institutions within the government), but they achieved most of their demands. They were relatively successful because the subordinate institutions conceded to regulate the European company to address most of the CSOs’ demands. Due to the European company’s lack of connection to the patron of the regime, the subordinate institutions held strong autonomy and thus could concede to the CSOs. The interactions explained in these case studies suggest that the relative success or failure of CSO movements is not contingent primarily upon their strategies, but rather upon the concessive or repressive measures of the central patron. These measures, adopted as they are for the political survival of the regime’s patron, shape the responses of the subordinate institutions. In essence, CSO movements are more likely to fail when they pose a high risk to the survival of the regime’s patron. The thesis concludes that, while the strategies orchestrated by the CSO movements are important in explaining the dynamics of their movements and outcomes, these strategies are not primary factors in determining the degrees of success or failure. Thus, scholars in this field should take into account the survival strategies adopted by political leaders in the particular regime type within which a social movement operates.
Examining the link between democracy and inclusive economic growth in Southeast Asia
Embedded in all our assumptions and hopes for democracy is the belief that a democratic system will make life better, economically and socially, for its citizens. Given this almost universal assumption it is surprising how little we really know about the impact of democratisation upon the welfare of citizens and the variables linking the two. This thesis investigates the impact of democracy on Inclusive Economic Growth, and mainly questioning: “Does democracy matter in the delivery of larger and more effective social policies that improve inclusive economic growth? ”The four cases selected to empirically analyse the relationship among the three variables (democracy, social policy, and inclusive economic growth) are Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. The finding is social policy is one of the potential variables linking the two; especially when the development of democratic institution run stably and the vast majority of the people support it. In other words, social policy becomes an important variable to test the link between democracy and inclusive economic growth.
False economy: New Public Management and the welfare-to-work market in Australia
In 1994 the Australian Government opened case management services for the long-term unemployed to the market, laying the foundation for its now fully privatised employment services system. The system was a pioneering exemplar of New Public Management and it is widely hailed as a successful model of outsourced service delivery. However this thesis argues that the system’s measures of success, focused on aggregate employment outcomes and service delivery costs, mask the adverse impact of its marketisation on ‘hard to place’ jobseekers and ignore the flow-on economic and social costs of their persistent unemployment. Going beyond the existing literature and drawing together multiple sources of data, this thesis presents an in-depth analysis of the context, process and effects of providing employment assistance to people facing multiple and significant barriers to work in Australia. Its findings reveal the complex and multi-disciplinary nature of interventions encompassed in activating those jobseekers; the challenges of coordinating those interventions in contestable funding environments and thin markets; issues in assessment of those jobseekers’ barriers to work and how they are streamed for employment assistance; and individualisation of the problem of long-term unemployment. The findings also reveal that, counter to predictions and despite calibrated incentives, the prospects of the long-term unemployed in Australia moving from welfare to sustainable work have not significantly improved through two decades of radical institutional change underpinned by market-based instruments. This thesis challenges the ‘choice and contestability’ doctrine driving reform of human services. It argues that in the authorising environment, the symbolic value of market-based reform within policy and budgetary siloes trumps evidence of the cumulative impact of competition and explicit measures of performance in public services accessed by citizens vulnerable to exploitation or neglect in the market. In particular, it argues that much of the effort and investment devoted to helping the long-term unemployed overcome barriers to work through individual case management in the employment services system is misdirected, and that the real cost of failing to move the most disadvantaged jobseekers in Australia into work is not adequately factored into policy design, service provider incentives or system metrics in the welfare-to-work market.
Radical Transparency in Democratic Governing: Democracy unbound within a networked society?
This thesis considers the extent that (digitally) mediated projects of transparency afford new modes of democratic governing. It puts forward the concept of ̳radical transparency‘ to describe shifts in the technologies and rationalities of government due to acts of disclosure. It approaches these claims through a collective case study of radical transparency apparatuses that employ new media as part of their materialisation of democratic governing, ranging from 18th Century Hansard to beyond WikiLeaks. The apparatuses are purposively selected on criteria of disruptive mechanics, extra-organisational position, and paradigmatic shifts of governing expectations. The resulting comparative analyses falsifies axiomatic understandings of what transparency is and does, as well as claims that democracy is bound to a singular ideal (of governance). Instead, the work considers how transparency apparatuses constitute and are constituted by deeply pluralistic theoretical frameworks of responsive agonism and diverse expectations of the conduct of conduct within a media ecology. The thesis finds a plurality of political affordances emanates from the digital transparency projects, and these create - and predict - complex implications for future evolutions of democratic governing.
The Millennium Development Goals: a gendered critique within the context of climate change
This minor thesis applies a gendered lens to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) within the context of climate change. This was done in order to examine the degree that the MDGs will be affected by climate change as well as whether the current Development paradigm has in fact contributed to the process of climate change. A wide expanse of literature has been examined, focusing on several case studies. The finding of this thesis was that because the MDGs are designed to operate within the current capitalist system, the structural inequity and polluting methods of production and consumption which contribute to climate change and compound poverty are not questioned. Critiquing this is particularly significant at this moment as the Development sector moves from the era of the MDGs to the era of Sustainable Development.