Institutional reforms often face challenges of poor compliance and implementation at the local level. I analyze these in a context where weak state capacity and limited enforcement make widespread compliance unlikely. South Africa's 2000 Promotion of Access to Information Act tasked the South African Human Rights Commission with monitoring and promoting compliance, but with limited resources and no authority to sanction. I argue that local political competition can generate endogenous incentives for compliance, even under conditions of weak capacity and limited external enforcement. Using data on 234 South African municipalities over 10 years, I find higher levels of compliance among more politically competitive municipalities. The results are not simply a function of differences between African National Congress–governed municipalities and others, and are robust to numerous controls for different forms of local state capacity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration