Measuring the Quality of Public Infrastructure in Kenya
Urban Areas in Kenya are growing rapidly as rural dwellers move to the city in search of employment. Centralized government ministries have had difficulty responding to the infrastructural needs of the newly urbanized. Recent policy innovations give local politicians the financial and decision-making power to plan and implement public infrastructure projects. My research examines the political incentives that influence the quality of these projects. Preliminary fieldwork uncovered two problems with such infrastructure projects. The first problem comes during planning. Politicians (or their designees) often inflate cost estimates for a proposed project. The second problem comes during implementation. Contractors often use shoddy materials and inefficient building methods, resulting in low-quality projects. Combined, these problems create a large gap between a proposed project?s budgeted cost and the value of the project that is ultimately built. My research develops methods for measuring the extent of these over-budgeting and implementation problems. In addition to solving problems in my research, these methods will also provide Kenyan civil society with tools to monitor the use of public funds.