Paradoxes of Local Government Reform in Post-Soviet Central Asia

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceeding


This paper explores the context, problems, quality, and challenges of local governance in four Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The prime focus is on the question of whether local governments in this region perform their functions in an effective and efficient way. It looks at the four conditions – contextual, structural, institutional and human resource conditions – as factors for explaining the capacity of local governments in the region. These questions will be investigated with reference to academic literature and policy papers on the topic. The findings indicate that local governments in Central Asia do not have real capacity to adequately address the needs and concerns of citizens, as they are heavily dependent on the central government in all policy issues, be it taxation, service delivery, local development, or privatization. The study suggests that local government reform in this region is not simply a matter of introducing Western-style governance structures or granting more autonomy to local actors. It is, more importantly, about understanding local socio-political context, clientalistic power relations, and promoting socio-economic change.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch
EventThe 24th NISPAcee Annual Conference: Spreading Standards, Building Capacities: European Administrative Space in Progress - University of Zagreb, Faculty of Law, Zagreb, Croatia
Duration: 2016 May 192016 May 21


ConferenceThe 24th NISPAcee Annual Conference
Internet address

Related research output

Rustam Urinboyev, 2017, The Global Informality Project / Encyclopaedia of Informality. Ledeneva, A. (ed.). UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

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