Securing a New Ordering of Power in Timor-Leste: The Role of Sub-national Spending

Douglas Porter, Saku Akmeemana

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    A crucial aspect of Timor-Leste’s economic performance and political stability in the aftermath of the 2006 crisis has been the way the government has managed a five-fold increase in public spending, and an even more rapid increase in capital spending. While the country’s experience has been widely acknowledged as an exemplar of ‘buying the peace’, less well documented has been the range of unorthodox arrangements adopted by the government to manage this fiscal expansion and to re-order the local political landscape. Sub-national spending was pivotal, despite amounting to only around 3 per cent of the budget. Recent research undertaken by the World Bank,2 including a joint study with the Government of Timor-Leste of its sub-national development programs, provides empirically grounded insights into how public spending can be used to dynamically trade-off and balance competing technical, social and political priorities in the immediate aftermath of conflict. This chapter’s assessment of public spending provides a lens through which to understand the crafting of political settlements in contexts where securing stability is paramount. The nature of the emerging settlement, in turn, shapes spending outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationA New Era? Timor-Leste after the UN
    Editors Sue Ingram, Lia Kent and Andrew McWilliam
    Place of PublicationCanberra
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781925022506
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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