The quality of local governance: ranking local governments in Belgium


Over the last years, there have been several research efforts to measure the quality of governance of nations (e.g., World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators). These efforts have been criticised by several academics. Less research has been conducted on indicators of the quality of local governance. In this article, we investigate whether different indicators of the quality of local governance in Flanders (Belgium) correlate with each other. Since they all proclaim to measure the quality of governance, we expect strong correlations. We identified 12 rankings based on eight data sources. This resulted in 66 correlations, of which only 17 were significant in the expected the direction. The vast majority of the correlations were insignificant. This suggests policy makers and academics need to be very careful when interpreting rankings of the quality of governance. Therefore, future rankings of governance should be targeted at the micro level of public service delivery, instead of the macro level of the public sector in general.

In International journal of public sector performance management