Village governance, community life and the 2014 village law in Indonesia.
In January 2014, the government of Indonesia issued Law 6/2014 on Villages, primarily to address weaknesses in the decentralisation paradigm by improving governance arrangements and shifting resources to a level of government less captured by special interests. Using longitudinal data from 40 Indonesian villages in the three Local Level Institutions studies, fielded in 1996, 2001, and 2012, we investigate the effects that prior policy has had on village life and identify the likely implications of the 2014 law on village governance. We focus on shifts in the capacities of and opportunities for local governments to increase their responsiveness to community needs, as well as consider the constraints on these governments. We suggest that there is potential for the law to increase government responsiveness—through a combination of strong financial management systems, new national institutional arrangements, and empowered citizens who can apply pressure on village governments to work in the interests of communities—but that substantial risks and obstacles remain.