To respond to slow economic development, urbanization and other challenges many South East Asian countries have undertaken wide ranging public administration reforms, ranging from the big bang decentralization in Indonesia which started in 1999 to the more gradual approach taken by the government of Vietnam. The objectives have usually been to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of service provision in order to reduce transaction costs and enhance opportunities for economic growth and respond to the citizens' demand for greater participation in decision making processes. This chapter describes specific innovation in the field of governance looking at the role that research-based evidence has played in informing or influencing the policy reforms. The assumption is that while governance reforms are extremely complex, the adoption of an evidence-based approach to pilot and design the reforms can enhance the possibility to design policies and define practices more in line with specific institutional needs and local demands. Three case studies illustrate these developments: One Stop Services in Indonesia, development planning through participatory rural appraisal in the Philippines, and the case of simplification of administrative procedures in Vietnam.
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