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Determining Citizen Satisfaction with Local Public Education in Indonesia: The Significance of Actual Service Quality and Governance Conditions

Blane Lewis () and Daan Pattinasarany

Growth and Change, 2009, vol. 40, issue 1, 85-115

Abstract: Indonesians appear content with local public education, despite independent concerns about quality in the international context. Over 85 percent of respondents from the recent Governance and Decentralization Survey claim to be at least somewhat satisfied with primary school education. This study argues that the generally high levels of reported satisfaction are probably exaggerated because of courtesy bias, low expectations, and optimistic predispositions. Survey responses are best thought of as indicative of relative, and not absolute, levels of satisfaction. The empirical examination shows that objective measures of service quality and governance conditions are both significant determinants of the probability that households are satisfied with local public education. The significance of governance holds regardless of whether pertinent variables are assumed to be exogenous or whether they are specified as endogenously determined, although the endogenous specification performs much better, in general. The evidence suggests a cautious approach toward the use and interpretation of score card initiatives, which attempt to employ citizen satisfaction as a close proxy for actual quality of services, in nonrandom samples, and without controlling for other factors. In addition, the results provide a novel rationale for improving the local governance environment.

Date: 2009
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