American University
auislandora_10408_OBJ.pdf (1.28 MB)
Download file


Download (1.28 MB)
posted on 2023-09-07, 05:07 authored by Irina P. Novikova

What do we know about how citizens feel about their governments in the post-Soviet countries? Why do we need to know how citizens feel about public bureaucracies in the context of administrative systems notoriously known for their disregard of citizens' needs and lack of operational transparency? In this project, I examine perceptions of local government responsiveness from the point of view of some of the most vulnerable urban dwellers, residents of informal settlements in Bishkek. In the context of weak accountability relationships between the state and its constituencies in the post-Soviet Central Asia, I see an opportunity to examine whether citizens have a role to play in affecting administrative dynamics. I start with an inquiry into whether and how perceptions of local government responsiveness as expressed by the urban squatter residents differ when attributed to different levels of the Bishkek's municipal governance system. Further, I examine potential effects of three major factors on people's perceptions of responsiveness: (a) residents' own actions to improve living conditions as reflected in their individual and collective petitioning of local municipal government agencies; (b) existing levels of access to urban services; and (c) the role of community cleavages related to residents' regional identities. I find that prior experience in demand-making activities as well as individual engagement in communal self-help measures are associated with higher levels of perceived responsiveness of the local municipal government; however, such perceptions vary across levels of the municipal governance system. It appears that citizen participation is likely to encourage cooperative spirit within squatter communities and may contribute to building stronger trust in local government. There is also a strong indication that sizable disparities in access to basic urban services exist in urban squatter communities in Bishkek, and that such disparities are predictably associated with a negative effect on perceptions of local government responsiveness. When regional identities are factored into analysis, urban squatter migrants from the southern regions of the country appear to be much more likely to perceive the lowest levels of the capital's municipal governance system as being responsive to their needs. Finally, citizen perceptions are found to have practical implications for the co-production of urban public services. More specifically, positive perceptions of responsiveness are found to be associated with longer municipal program implementation periods potentially pointing to the link between citizens' perceptions of responsiveness and their willingness to exercise due diligence in public service co-production.



American University


Degree awarded: Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy. American University


Degree grantor

American University. School of Public Policy

Degree level

  • Doctoral

Submission ID


Usage metrics

    Theses and Dissertations


    No categories selected