The political economy of policy-making in Indonesia: opportunities for improving the demand for and use of knowledge

Working and discussion papers
December 2011
Ajoy Datta, Harry Jones, Vita Febriany, Daniel Harris, Rika Kumala Dewi, Leni Wild and John Young

This Working Paper describes rules that govern policy-making processes in Indonesia and assesses factors that determine the use of knowledge in policy-making processes.

The study aimed to uncover other (perhaps stronger) factors by undertaking a political economy analysis, focusing on how historical legacies coupled with institutional constraints (in essence, the ‘rules of the game’) shaped policy-makers’ incentives to seek and use knowledge.

Research methods included documentary reviews; interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, including government policy-makers, civil society and staff of donor agencies; and a validation workshop.

The research explores formal policy processes, the political past, the executive branch of the government, political parties and the parliament, knowledge production and procurement, factors that shape policy-makers' use of knowledge and in addition, provides conclusions, recommendations and suggestions for further work.

Focusing initially on formal processes in the shape of regular development planning and budgeting processes, as well as the development of more ad hoc laws and implementation guidelines, we found that formal bureaucratic rules appeared to be weak in incentivising policy-makers to invest in, demand and use knowledge in order to draft policies.