Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Un, Kheang

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Political Science


How different is the democratic performance of one province over another in Indonesia? What explains the variations in democratic performance across provinces in the country? Democratic performance varies within a country. Some subnational jurisdictions have higher electoral accountability, protect civil liberties, and deliver public goods, while others do not. Most studies on democratic performance have focused primarily on comparative analyses across nations and hence have overlooked the subnational variations. Taking advantage of subnational comparative analysis, this study examined the territorially uneven patterns of democratic performance across subnational units within Indonesia. This study utilized factor analysis to assess the performance of democracy across provinces in the country. It then applied a case study method of within-nation comparison and process tracing to generate causal mechanism between elite persistence, political capture, and democratic performance. This study specifically looked into the variance of political elites at the subnational level in post-democratization Indonesia in the 2009-2017 period by examining three cases: Central Java, South Sumatra, and Banten.

This study finds that the persistence of the elite of the former authoritarian regime explains strong political capture in a province, which causes the low performance of democracy in the province. On the contrary, the dominance of the elite of the former opposition political party that previously opposed the authoritarian regime explains the low political capture in a province, which results in the high performance of democracy in the province. This study’s concern is that political capture in a young democracy is driven by the existence of pre-existing patronage networks, clientelism, and informal ties to the local government that are now being deployed in a newly democratic environment. The rise of a relatively new group of political actors may pave the way for the break from the political capture practiced by the previous elites of authoritarian regime. Thus, the local political conditions—local arena in which political actors contest the legitimate right to exercise control over public power and public policies—have considerable impact on the subnational performance of democracy.


239 pages




Northern Illinois University

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