Institutions and Politics of Metropolitan Management
In this paper by Inder Sud and Serdar Yilmaz, the authors point out the fact that metropolitan cities play a vital role in economic development. In most countries they account for a significant share of gross domestic product and jobs, and have higher labor productivity, economic growth rates, and incomes compared with national averages. To sustain their position as engines of growth metropolitan cities must provide adequate infrastructure and a business friendly regulatory environment. However, few cities in the developing world are able to discharge these functions effectively. In this paper the authors focus on the weakness of metropolitan institutions stemming from their legal and regulatory environment as a cause of this failure. They look at the experiences of 11 large metropolitan cities to suggest possible directions in the development of metropolitan institutions in developing countries.
Their analysis suggests that there is wide diversity in the structure and functioning of metropolitan institutions both across countries and often within the same country with no single model being best. Therefore, it is neither feasible nor desirable to set out a single best institutional model for governance of metropolitan cities in developing countries. With the rapidly growing population of their metropolitan cities and the cities critical role in the economy, developing countries do not have the luxury of the gradual evolutionary approach. Based on their analysis of the experiences of the metropolitan cities studied the authors suggest the following key principals of metropolitan governance for cities in developing countries.
They suggest that the roles, responsibilities, authority, and accountability of local governments, including metropolitan cities, should be formalized in an appropriate legal framework. This role should include full control of all property related services and responsibility for the implementation of people related programs as well as autonomy in determining property taxes. While mechanisms need be in place for oversight by higher levels of government, the most critical accountability is that exercised by citizens. Municipal governance reforms implemented in Turkey and South Africa are cited as broadly appropriate models for developing countries to follow, albeit with changes to suit specific circumstances.
This paper was presented at a 2011 conference at The Brookings Institution organized by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and is Chapter 5 of the book Financing Metropolitan Governments in Developing Countries.