Citizen-Centered Financial Management at the Local Level

Citizen-Centered Financial Management at the Local Level

March 7, 2023

On daily basis, we receive toxic news about problems in the local finance - poor property tax collection, low fiscal effort, limited fiscal capacities, debt-ridden municipalities, insufficient inter-governmental grants, unsatisfactory local public service delivery. However, there are also municipalities with remarkable progress in numerous areas of citizen-centered financial management. We call them positive deviants. They are great examples in the national context with stories that could be replicated or success that inspires. The positive deviance is an approach that seeks to identify outperformers to understand and replicate their strategies and practices within a community. Data Powered Positive Deviance is a method that combines non-traditional digital data and traditional data to identify and characterize outperformers in development related challenges.

We decided to use this method for performing research intended to collect key information on different performances of municipalities in a variety of fields in order to determine the positive deviance in terms of Citizen-Centered Solid Financial Management at the local level in North Macedonia. The period under consideration is 2017 - 2020, whereas the cross-sectional units are all 81 municipalities.

For the selected municipalities as positive deviants (success stories), we also refer to more recent trends and challenges. The indicated period of the study does not include the recent multidimensional crisis (energy crisis) that has led to a rise in municipal arrears in numerous instances. The findings illustrate various practices of municipalities in predefined areas that are related to sound financial management capacities of local governments. These predefined areas are not only related to planning and executing of the budget, but also look broader on the context of planning, transparency, reporting, and ability to respond to the needs of the community.

Based on the reviews and interviews of the outperformers (positive deviants), we are designing a detailed roadmap for creating and maintaining new outperformers among the municipalities in North Macedonia.

The full research is available on English, Macedonian and Albanian language in the Download section.