Public Goods Survey
Survey on Public Goods, Local Government Performance, and Community Participation In Mexico
The provision of public goods that directly impact the quality of life and wellbeing of Mexican citizens are primarily the responsibility of municipal governments. Public safety, drinking water, sewerage and electricity, as well as facilities such as marketplaces, parks, graveyards, slaughterhouses and other urban amenities are provided by mayors with funds they receive from other levels of government, mostly the federal one. The complex system of intergovernmental financial transfers implies that citizens often do not see a direct link between the taxes they pay (mostly to the federal government) and public expenditure (mostly done by state and municipal governments). This lack of citizen oversight is compounded by the pervasive use of public funds for political purposes. Clientelism has historically characterized the linkages between citizens and politicians in Mexico. While much has been advanced in the last two decades in terms of redesigning social transfers and programs in order to prevent their political manipulation, electoral processes are often marred by accusations of misuse of public funds. The study should provide information that has not been collected by previous public opinion surveys. There has been an important effort sponsored by the United Nations Program for Development (PNUD) to study the protection of Mexican social programs in electoral moments; Transparencia Mexicana has also identified the pervasive corruption in dealings between citizens and bureaucrats; and there are countless surveys carried out by political parties, academic institutions and NGOs suggesting very high levels of distrust among the citizenry towards public officials. But none of these survey instruments have been designed to trace the links of accountability of local public officials, particularly mayors, in the provision of public goods and services to their localities.The purposes of this survey are:
1. Identify variation in public good provision. We seek to identify the level of public good provision at the locality level as well the extent to which individual households have access to public goods.
2. Explore the political process of public good provision. First, we will need to unpack how municipal governments decide to allocate funds among localities. Second, we need to uncover how individual household's characteristics impact access to public goods –these characteristics include income, education of head of household and adult women, ethnicity, main language spoken, party identification and voting behavior, political connections, remittances, etc).
3. Establish the extent to which there is community involvement in public good provision and the impact of "civic culture" on public good projects.