Why stagnant? behind the scenes in Indonesia’s reformed state asset management policies

Mardiasmo, Diaswati, Barnes, Paul H., & Sampford, Charles (2012) Why stagnant? behind the scenes in Indonesia’s reformed state asset management policies. In 14th International Schumpeter Society Conference (ISS), 2-5 July 2012, Brisbane, QLD.

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This study seeks to answer the question of “why is policy innovation in Indonesia, in particular reformed state asset management laws and regulations, stagnant?” through an empirical and qualitative approach, identifying and exploring potential impeding influences to the full and equal implementation of said laws and regulations.

The policies and regulations governing the practice of state asset management has emerged as an urgent question among many countries worldwide (Conway, 2006; Dow, Gillies, Nichols, & Polen, 2006; Kaganova, McKellar, & Peterson, 2006; McKellar, 2006b) for there is heightened awareness of the complex and crucial role that state assets play in public service provision. Indonesia is an example of such country, introducing a ‘big-bang’ reform in state asset management laws, policies, regulations, and technical guidelines. Two main reasons propelled said policy innovation: a) world-wide common challenges in state asset management practices - such as incomplete information system, accountability, and governance adherence/conceptualisation (Kaganova, McKellar and Peterson 2006); and b) unfavourable state assets audit results in all regional governments across Indonesia.

The latter reasoning is emphasised, as the Indonesian government admits to past neglect in ensuring efficiency and best practice in its state asset management practices. Prior to reform there was euphoria of building and developing state assets and public infrastructure to support government programs of the day. Although this euphoria resulted in high growth within Indonesia, there seems to be little attention paid to how state assets bought/built is managed. Up until 2003-2004 state asset management is considered to be minimal; inventory of assets is done manually, there is incomplete public sector accounting standards, and incomplete financial reporting standards (Hadiyanto 2009). During that time transparency, accountability, and maintenance state assets was not the main focus, be it by the government or the society itself (Hadiyanto 2009).

Indonesia exemplified its enthusiasm in reforming state asset management policies and practices through the establishment of the Directorate General of State Assets in 2006. The Directorate General of State Assets have stressed the new direction that it is taking state asset management laws and policies through the introduction of Republic of Indonesia Law Number 38 Year 2008, which is an amended regulation overruling Republic of Indonesia Law Number 6 Year 2006 on Central/Regional Government State Asset Management (Hadiyanto, 2009c). Law number 38/2008 aims to further exemplify good governance principles and puts forward a ‘the highest and best use of assets’ principle in state asset management (Hadiyanto, 2009a).

The methodology of this study is that of qualitative case study approach, with a triangulated data collection method of document analysis (all relevant state asset management laws, regulations, policies, technical guidelines, and external audit reports), semi-structured interviews, and on-site observation. Empirical data of this study involved a sample of four Indonesian regional governments and 70 interviews, performed during January-July 2010. The analytical approach of this study is that of thematic analysis, in an effort to identify common influences and/or challenges to policy innovation within Indonesia.

Based on the empirical data of this study specific impeding influences to state asset management reform is explored, answering the question why innovative policy implementation is stagnant. An in-depth analysis of each influencing factors to state asset management reform, and the attached interviewee’s opinions for each factor, suggests the potential of an ‘excuse rhetoric’; whereby the influencing factors identified are a smoke-screen, or are myths that public policy makers and implementers believe in; as a means to explain innovative policy stagnancy. This study offers insights to Indonesian policy makers interested in ensuring the conceptualisation and full implementation of innovative policies, particularly, although not limited to, within the context of state asset management practices.

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ID Code: 57828
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Policy innovation, Indonesia, state asset management, good governance, wicked problem
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > POLICY AND ADMINISTRATION (160500) > Public Policy (160510)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Law and Justice Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 07 Mar 2013 01:30
Last Modified: 14 May 2013 13:26

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