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Politics, voice and responsiveness in urban Pakistan

Institute of Development Studies

Project type Research 

Country Pakistan 

Support £38,805

In partnership with Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS), Pakistan
“How responsive are local politicians to their constituents in their role as administrators, councillors and party brokers?”


estimated percentage of Pakistan’s population living in urban areas

Start date
May 2016
End date
March 2017
Period: 11 months


The rapid rate of urban growth in Pakistan has overwhelmed the state’s capacity to provide basic services in towns and cities. Combined with weak and unstable political institutions, this has led to large under-serviced neighbourhoods in many cities.

But the recent re-introduction of local-level politicians could change this. What impact will this have in terms of poor urban people’s access to basic services?


The impact of Pakistan’s rapid urbanisation is largely under-researched; we know even less about the complex intersection between urbanisation and democratisation.

This observational study will measure politician responsiveness by analysing the match between budgetary allocations and citizens’ stated needs and tracking the effort made by local politicians to ensure the effective delivery of municipal services.

It will also document the mechanisms used by politicians to elicit citizens’ needs, and the strata of citizenry that gets attention in this process.


The lead researcher on this project is Shandana Mohmand, at the Institute of Development Studies. IDS is a leading global institution for development research, teaching and learning, and impact and communications, and is based at the University of Sussex, UK.


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