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VOLUME 10 ISSUE 3

The International Journal of

Civic, Political, and


Community Studies
__________________________________________________________________________

Towards Equity-based Regional


Development
Addressing Spatial Inequality in the Blitar Region
AGUNG SUGIRI AND NURUL NURAINI

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Towards Equity-based Regional Development:


Addressing Spatial Inequality in the Blitar Region
Agung Sugiri, Diponegoro University, Indonesia
Nurul Nuraini, Local Government of Blitar Regency, Indonesia
Abstract: Spatial inequality can be defined as disparities among spatial units of a region that can easily be perceived by
people, e.g. some spatial units can provide proper and affordable public facilities and infrastructure while some others
cannot. This phenomenon has long been there in the Blitar Region, Indonesia, where the north part of it is seen by people
as more developed than the south part. Spatial inequality matters because, firstly, it could be caused by equity failures and
secondly, this may worsen the imbalance spatial interactions, which can further cause problems like unoptimum economic
growth, inequality of welfare, and even unsustainability. It is unfortunate that the inverted U-shape rule of spatial inequality
as hypothesised by many seems inapplicable here. This paper is based on research answering the problem of what factors
have been there and how they work to result in the spatial inequality of the Blitar Region. A set of propositions was
developed from literature discussions and was then confirmed in the case of the Blitar Region, comprising Blitar City and
Blitar Regency administratively. The quantitative approach is utilised in this research, due to the need to understand the
general characteristics of spatial inequality in the Blitar Region. The main findings confirm that it is inequity, especially
in the distribution of development benefits, that matters and that the inverted U-shape rule needs equity to be ensured to
work. Essential measures needed to alleviate the inequity are recommended.
Keywords: Equity-based Development, Inverted U-shape Rule, Regional Development, Spatial Inequality

Introduction

patial inequality has long been an issue in Blitar Regency (Kabupaten) of East Java Province,
Indonesia. Inhabited by around 1,270,000 people in 2009, the North Blitar has been
considered more developed than the South. Disparities have been there in terms of various
aspects like population density, the availability of public facilities and infrastructure, and
individual income (BRG 2008). This issue has been so appealing that it came up in the debate
among the Regent candidates in the 2010 election campaign (PDI-P 2010). Certain candidate
promised that if elected he would alleviate the North-South inequality. This news not only reveals
the needs to resolve the spatial inequality, but also exposes the fact that the issue is still among the
concerns of the people.
However, the North-South inequality is actually not only the matter of Blitar Regency, but at
least the Blitar Region as a whole, which administratively includes Blitar City as well (see Figure
1). This is because a central place like Blitar City always has its surrounding areas with most
intense inter-relationship. They are inter-related in terms of various social and economic activities
like journey to work, to facilities and to get services, to form a functional region (see e.g. Glasson
1992). Therefore, when the interactions among the spatial units are not in balance mechanism,
inequality must be there. Spatial inequality can be defined as disparities among spatial units of a
region that can be perceived by people (for further discussion on the definition, see Kanbur and
Venables 2005; Kim 2008; Li and Wei 2010; Slater 1975; Zeng and Zhao 2010; Combes et al.
2011), e.g. some spatial units have proper and affordable public facilities and infrastructure while
some others do not.
Spatial inequality thus matters for at least two reasons. First, it is most probably caused by
equity failures (Sugiri 2009), especially when fairness could not be ensured in the development
process. If this is the case, Sugiri (2009) notes that poverty and unsustainability may become the
consequences. The developed spatial units usually keep growing while the backward ones stay
stagnant. The problem of poverty, then, becomes difficult to alleviate. Second, spatial inequality,
if it is allowed to keep going, may worsen the imbalanced spatial interactions which can cause

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suboptimal economic growth, deep inequality of welfare, and even unsustainability (Sugiri,
Buchori and Soetomo 2011; Kanbur and Venables 2005; Kim 2008).

Notes: colours denote district (kecamatan) units of Blitar Regency, while the white area in the centre is Blitar City.

Figure 1: Map of the Blitar Region


Source: BRG 2008.
Many would argue that spatial inequality is a consequence of development process at its initial
stage, commonly characterised by big investments in selected locations, mostly urban areas (see
e.g. Friedmann 1966; Johnson 1970; Alonso 1980; Glasson 1992). As development continues,
trickling down effect from growth centres distributing benefits and opportunities to other regions
is expected to equalise the situation towards equilibrium at the advance stage of development. This
is the rule of inverted U-shape or bell shape curve, similar to that of Kuznets (1955) in
hypothesising the relationship between individual income inequality and economic growth.
However, whether the rule applies to developing countries is still questionable as evidences
suggest otherwise (Gilbert 1982; Kuncoro 2005). In many cases, trickle down effects have been so
insignificant to accelerate development in backward regions. On the other hand, backwash effects
have been working strongly to result in deeper inequality. This has also been the case of Indonesia
where growth is concentrated in limited metropolitan and big urban areas, depriving the rest of the
regions. In Java island, for example, because such preferable areas are located along the North
coastal line (Pantura), North-South spatial inequality has been an issue since the Soeharto era until
now.
Blitar Region, with around 1.5 millions of population, is among the South part of East Java.
However, even in this Southern region of Java, spatial inequality has also been perceived by the
people. The inverted U-shape rule is apparently not working in this region as the inequality has
long been there, at least since more than 20 years ago when the development of Indonesia,
especially Java, achieved the Rostows take-off phase.
Therefore, the research problem to be answered is, What factors have been there and how do
they work to result in the spatial inequality of the Blitar Region? This paper presents essential
results of a research done by the authors aimed at answering the research question. This
introduction will be followed by four sections, i.e. the literature review section, methodology
section, findings discussion, and concluding remarks.

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SUGIRI AND NURAINI: TOWARDS EQUITY-BASED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Spatial Inequality, Equity Failures and Equity-based Regional Development


Literature review will lead towards proposition building. This is done by discussing important
aspects of the research. First, equity failures that can cause spatial inequality will be explained.
This is because any inequality that emerged not from inequity or unfairness is most probably not a
problem. Second, the principles underpinning the inverted U-shape curve should be discussed.

Spatial Inequality and Equity Failures


This subsection discusses the importance of understanding equity failures in the development
process that can cause spatial inequality.

Equity Principles in Regional Development


The literature on development sometimes perceives equity as an even distribution of development
benefits. Equity has often been contrasted with economic growth. Pieterse (2001), for example,
when proposing equity with growth, has briefly reviewed two extreme positions, i.e. rejecting
growth or establishing equity without growth. It can be seen that equity in relation to development
is occasionally understood as implying an equal distribution.
However, when asserting that equity is a prerequisite of development Hamlin and Lyons
(1996: 20) offer an idea of distinguishing equity and equality by emphasising that if the gap
between income groups becomes too large, or if people feel the system is unfair, trust breaks down
and instability ensues. Income is one among development benefits distributed to people. Thus,
inequality in enjoying development benefits does matter if it is caused by unfairness in the process.
Equity, then, is much more related to fairness and justice than to equality. According to
Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2006), equity has three main meanings, one of which is relevant to
this study, i.e. justice according to natural law or right; specifically: freedom from bias or
favouritism. In many cases in the application of justice, subjects should be treated equally. For
example, when it comes to a general election in a country, equality in terms of one man for one
vote is applied. However, this is not the case when a medical doctor needs to give medications for,
say, 10 patients with a similar illness. The doctor would not apply equality to his patients by giving
them the same medication with the same dosage. Medical prescriptions can vary and would depend
significantly on the individual situations, such as ones health history, neighbourhood environment
and lifestyle.
In the context of regional development, benefits are almost always enjoyed unequally by the
beneficiaries. On many occasions, this inequality matters. Developing countries with plenty of
natural resources have been suffering from such kind of inequality. The problem occurs because
deep inequality in the distribution of development outcome could be an indication of inequity
(Hamlin and Lyons 1996).
Many would argue that, to ensure equity, people should have the same opportunity to access
welfare. However, those who assert the importance of equality of opportunity differ on how they
define opportunity and what kinds of goods and services should be distributed equally (Rawls
1971; Barry 1989; Sen 1980; Sen 1992).
After reviewing prominent views, especially those of Rawls and Sen, Sugiri (2009) has
proposed his own concept on equity with regard to development.
Sugiri (2009) starts with an agreement to Rawls (1971) that equity is fairness in the process of
development and justice in distributing the outcome. In a development process, Sugiri continues,
every actor has its own, specific function determined by its own potential and effort, and
mechanisms in the socio-economic system of the community. The development mechanism is a
socio-economic system, within which the process of accumulating benefits, distributing them to
stakeholders, and efforts to sustain the system are involved. Every person has his/her potential and
limitations to function in the system, which can be perceived as unique if one looks deeper.

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In terms of these specific functions, inequality exists. This meaning can better be understood
if, as suggested by Sen (1992), human diversity and the range of focuses are considered when
examining equality. Meanwhile, pursuing equality of an aspect may cause inequality in other
related aspects. This conveys a message that it is important to assess equity in any analysis of
inequality, because inequality that occurs without any unfairness may not need attention.
Fairness is incorporated when all development actors share the same opportunity of
accomplishing their specific functions. It is the initial opportunity to complete their specific jobs
that is to be distributed equally, but neither their functions, nor their achievements are to be
equalised. If their opportunity is not made equal, then the development itself would not be fair.
When equity is properly applied, everyone is not necessarily equal, but everything is put in its
proper place. It is like the allocation of components that makes a personal computer work. One
cannot put the main processor into the RAM (random access memory) slot and vice versa. Thus,
individual income, for example, may not be equally distributed, but, no one would complain about
another persons higher income. This is because people do not feel any injustice in the inequality
of income.
Therefore, justice in the distribution of development benefits would mean that only certain
kinds of benefit should be distributed equally, especially with regard to basic human needs. World
Bank (2006) asserts that poor people stay poor because of inadequate access to schools, health
centres, roads, market opportunities, credit, effective risk-management mechanisms and other
empowering services, to indicate that certain aspects of benefit need to be distributed equally. On
the other hand, other kinds of benefit can be distributed unequally, depending on the extent of
importance of the recipients performances in the development.

How Equity Failures Instigate Spatial Inequality


When equity is fully applied, sustainable development can be ensured. This is urged by, among
others, Sugiri (2010: 262) who argues that sustainable regional development needs ensuring intraand inter-generational equity within a region without compromising the ability of other related
regions to do the same. This means that balanced interactions among the spatial units can only be
insured by applying equity.
Sugiri (2009) proposes a model of equity-based development as can be seen in Figure 2.
According to the model, improper applications of the four equity principles would end up in nine
types of equity failures. Development process comprises four functions where equity should be
applied. First, equity should be applied in the distribution of benefits, with regard to intragenerational equity, which can be called equity I. Second, equity should emerge in the process of
production (equity II), in which the producers are involved with regard to the production function
of natural resources. This relates to intra- and inter-generational equity. Third, equity is needed in
the non-production (ecological) aspect of natural resources (equity III), which is as important as
the production one, to ensure inter-generational equity. Finally, equity should be applied in
reinvestment for sustainable development (equity IV), with regard to inter-generational equity.
It can be seen from the model that equity failures in the first function are most relevant for this
study. In the distribution of development benefits, equity should be applied (equity I), the failure
of which would end up to poverty and deep inequality, because:
First, the majority of people would be deprived in terms of low welfare level despite
their hard work (equity failure Ia), and
Second, unfair access to public infrastructure, facilities and services could occur
(equity failure Ib).

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SUGIRI AND NURAINI: TOWARDS EQUITY-BASED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

I
II
III
IV

Notes:
: Equity I
: Equity II
: Equity III
: Equity IV

All arrows represent positive flows, except the x arrow which is negative externality, i.e. the negative impact of the
production function to the non-production function, however, it is hardly captured by the market mechanism (the market
failure).

Figure 2: Inter-regional Model of Equity-based Development


Source: Sugiri 2009:117.
Some equity failures in the production function may also be relevant to spatial inequality as
failure to guarantee equity in this function (Equity II) would cause deep inequality and
unsustainability. However, for this research, focusing on investigating equity failures in the benefit
distribution is sufficient. Besides, equity failure Ia also encompasses the aspect of job creation, as
will become clear later on, which should be comprehended first before stepping further into
investigating the production function.

Why the Inverted U-shape Rule Does Not Work


The inverted U-shape, or bell-shaped theory concerning spatial inequality is a resemblance to
Kuznets hypothesis on income inequality. It is the nature of development that big investments
cannot be distributed equally to all regions of a country, because first it will need so much funding
that is almost impossible, and secondly, the investors themselves may prefer certain locations in
the country. So, concentration of manufacturing industries and services in limited regions only,

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mostly metropolitan and big urban areas, is the consequence of ensuring efficient and effective
investments. Spatial inequality is thus a normal phenomenon at the initial stage of development.
Further stages of development, according to the theory, will automatically bring spatial
equilibrium and thus alleviate the inequality (Friedmann 1966; Slater 1975; Alonso 1980; Li and
Wei 2010; Zeng and Zhao 2010; Combes et al. 2011). The logic relies mainly on trickle down
effect that works significantly. This is a kind of multiplier effect in spatial sense. According to
multiplier effect rule, every economic activity -means investment- will attract other related
activities to grow and later on aggregately yield in meaningful economic growth. Accordingly, the
concentration of high productive economic activities in limited centres will trigger the growth of
related activities in the surrounding regions and finally mutual relationships among the spatial units
can be realised to bring regional growth in equilibrium situation.
The inverted U-shape rule has been confirmed in many cases of developed countries where
free competition and market mechanism have been working properly (Friedmann 1966; Slater
1975; Alonso 1980; Combes et al. 2011). In France, for example, migrations along both the spatial
and sectoral dimensions have favored an equalization of wages across space (Combes et al. 2011:
16). Furthermore, the law of diminishing returns has made the labor-depleted agricultural regions
more productive, which has triggered a catch-up of rural areas (Combes et al. 2011: 16).
In developing countries, however, such confirmation of the inverted U-shape rule can hardly
be found. In China, for example, the dynamics of regional development cannot be explained using
the simple convergence or divergence rules (Li and Wei 2010). A complex multi-dimensional
framework that includes the state, local agent and global forces which have been working
altogether in the regional development should be considered. Similarly, Zheng and Zhao (2010)
conclude that globalisation plays an important role in China. This is something new that was not
considered in the bell shape theory.
As the case of Indonesia, while the complexity may be comparable to that of China, something
in contrast is that the practices of regional development in Indonesia have always been in favour
of big investors while small stakeholders have been left behind (Mubyarto 1998; Kuncoro 2005).
Infrastructure and public facilities have been well provided in regions where high productive
activities agglomerate, while backward regions have been lack of even the basic ones. This has
worsened spatial inequality at practically all levels. At the national level, the West-East inequality
has been there since the Soeharto era. In Java, North-South and urban-rural inequalities are still
difficult to alleviate, and even in the South regions, like Blitar, spatial inequality is an important
issue.
The framework developed by Lo, Salih and Douglas (1981) can explain the situation of
Indonesias regional development in some respects. The main problem is the failure of local
populations to share properly in development. In general, there has been a dual economy, i.e. a
highly-productive one occupied by a small portion of the population and a less-productive one
engaged by the majority (Lo, Salih and Douglass 1981). The highly-productive economy,
comprising the manufacturing and service sectors or natural resource exploitation, usually needs
significant capital. Moreover, it also requires skilled workers since high technology is used. These
conditions mean that only those well educated are able to involve, and they are the minority in the
developing world. Consequently, the majority of people are engaged in low productive economic
activity characterised by labour intensive, low skill and low capital requirement.
This dualism framework is still there in Indonesia. It is more unfortunate that inequality in the
availability and affordability of infrastructure and public facilities is also existent. All this indicates
that equity failures are most probably the main cause why the backward regions are unable to catch
up development.
Efforts have certainly been made to alleviate the inequality; however, as suggested by Kuncoro
(2005), much more appropriate and well targeted regional policies are needed. To be able to
recommend proper government intervention and propose appropriate measures for other

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SUGIRI AND NURAINI: TOWARDS EQUITY-BASED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

stakeholders as well, understanding on factors affecting spatial inequality and how they have been
working is needed. This study is therefore essential.

The Propositions
Pondering on previous discussion more carefully, factors affecting spatial inequality and how the
mechanisms work can be identified through investigation on the two equity failures. It is argued
that the equity failures are at the core of the development mechanism that makes the inverted Ushape rule is not working.
The two equity failures can be related to eight policy aspects as Sugiri (2009) has asserted.
How people experience in these aspects determine their perceptions on the equity issues. The
policy aspects are as follows:
For equity issue Ia (income and employment system):
o Job opportunity;
o Taxation;
o Minimum wage;
o Social security.
For equity issue Ib (access to facilities and services):
o Education services;
o Health services;
o Basic Infrastructure (Road, Electricity, Clean Water, Drainage,
Telecommunication);
o Sheltering/housing for the worse-off.

Methodology
Approach and Stages of the Research
This study would result in a general comprehension on this issue in the Blitar Region before
moving forward towards deeper understanding, which would become a continuation of this
research. Data and information have been collected from relevant institutions for the secondary
data, and from distributing questionnaires to the respondents for primary data. In addition, field
observation, an important qualitative method, has been done to take the researchers into an initial
and general view about the spatial inequality in the region.
Four stages have been completed in the research. First, preparation was made, comprising
literature review and research design. Having the research design in hand, confirmation of the
propositions was started by observation and collecting data from the field. The third stage has also
been done by compiling, systematizing, and analysing the data and information. Finally, the fourth
stage has been to conclude and to give relevant recommendations based on the findings.

Confirmation of the Propositions


The most important aspect is apparently the worse-off peoples perception on the equity issues.
When equity cannot be applied properly, some people will simply be better-off at the expense of
the worse-off.

Sampling the Worse-off


The worse-off people can be defined as those who are deprived in various ways and levels from
getting fairness in the development process and justice in the distribution of benefits. It has been
very difficult to identify the population of the worse-off with such resource limitation of the
research. Meanwhile, it is common in Javanese ethnic that peoples perceptions are usually

97

represented by those of the household heads. Therefore, questionnaires for the worse-off were
distributed randomly to the poor households, proportionally to districts (kecamatan) as the spatial
units.
Solvins formulae (see e.g. Bungin 2010) is used to identify the sample size:

Notes:
n = sample size
N = population size
d = degree of error

Applying 90% of confidence level, with N = 86,642 and d = 0.10, the sample size is 99.77,
rounded to 100 poor households in Blitar. This is then proportionally distributed to districts as can
be seen in Table 1.
Table 1: Sample Size of the Worse-off People by Districts in the Blitar Region
No.

District (Kecamatan)

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

Sananwetan
Kepanjenkidul
Sukorejo
Kanigoro
Talun
Selopuro
Kesamben
Selorejo
Doko
Wlingi
Gandusari
Garum
Nglegok
Sanankulon
Ponggok
Srengat
Wonodadi
Udanawu
Bakung
Wonotirto
Panggungrejo
Wates
Binangun
Sutojayan
Kademangan

TOTAL

98

Poor
Households
1,696
1,267
1,325
5,697
3,702
3,345
2,958
2,231
1,975
3,503
5,347
3,996
4,604
4,296
6,985
3,504
2,904
2,804
3,072
3,353
2,833
3,356
3,169
3,013
5,707

Sample
Size
2
1
2
7
4
4
3
3
2
4
6
5
5
5
8
4
3
3
4
4
3
4
4
3
7

86,642
100
Sources: data adapted from BRSO 2010; BCSO 2010.

Sub-region
NORTH

SOUTH

SUGIRI AND NURAINI: TOWARDS EQUITY-BASED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Findings Discussion
This section comprises two subsections. The first is an understanding on spatial inequality in the
Blitar Region based on secondary data and the field observation. Despite the limited availability
of the secondary data, important findings have been there and lead to essential discussion in the
second subsection, which confirms the propositions.

Spatial Inequality in the Blitar Region: An Initial Discussion


Spatial inequality in Blitar can be identified in only two aspects as far as the availability of the
secondary data is concerned. First, it is seen in the population distribution in terms of the density,
and second, it is observable in the accessibility levels in terms of road availability. Meanwhile,
inequalities are also there in the economic aspect and in the service coverage of the public facilities
and infrastructure; however, they are not exactly the North-South inequalities, but more on CityRegency ones. The following figures (Figure 3 to Figure 5) and Table 2 show the inequalities more
clearly.

Figure 3: Population Density in the Blitar Region


Sources: data adapted from BRSO 2010; BCSO 2010.

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Table 2: Accessibility Level by Districts in the Blitar Region


No.

District

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

Sananwetan
Kepanjenkidul
Sukorejo
Kanigoro
Talun
Selopuro
Kesamben
Selorejo
Doko
Wlingi
Gandusari
Garum
Nglegok
Sanankulon
Ponggok
Srengat
Wonodadi
Udanawu
Bakung
Wonotirto
Panggungrejo
Wates
Binangun
Sutojayan
Kademangan

Length of Roads
(Km)
75.378
80.334
83.908
41.09
42.67
35.02
56.76
61.31
83.89
41.69
70.69
34.89
57.63
40.69
103.50
61.71
43.82
51.73
61.43
90.30
67.20
51.19
64.27
44.29
83.77

Area (Km2)
12.151
10.502
9.925
55.55
49.78
32.95
57.07
52.12
70.95
72.7
88.23
54.56
92.56
33.33
103.83
53.99
41.95
39.37
104.15
171.63
119.04
68.76
76.79
44.2
105.28

Notes: District names written in italics are those of South part of Blitar

Sources: data adapted from BRSO 2010; BCSO 2010

100

Accessibility
Score
6.20
7.65
8.45
0.74
0.86
1.06
0.99
1.18
1.18
0.57
0.80
0.64
0.62
1.22
1.00
1.14
1.04
1.31
0.59
0.53
0.56
0.74
0.84
1.00
0.80

SUGIRI AND NURAINI: TOWARDS EQUITY-BASED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Notes: Kota Blitar: Blitar City; Kabupaten Blitar: Blitar Regency; Propinsi Jawa Timur: East Java Province

Figure 4: Economic Growth Rates of Blitar Region and East Java Province, 2006-9
Sources: data adapted from BRSO 2010; BCSO 2010.
The results may be different to what have been believed so far. While people believe that the
North-South inequality has been there in almost every aspect of welfare, the discussion has
confirmed on two aspects only, i.e. in the population density and in the accessibility levels in terms
of road availability. Although many secondary data based on district as the smallest unit have been
unavailable to make it impossible for complete analysis, the discussion has also found that
economic inequality in terms of poverty incidence is not in the North-South pattern. Economic
inequality is in a somewhat randomised pattern where poverty is evidenced in both North and
South parts of the region.
It can also be inferred that agglomeration and urbanisation economies may have brought those
aspects together to result in the spatial inequality. It is common that areas that are perceived as
more developed in various ways would attract more people to live in. As Blitar City has been the
centre of the region even since before the Dutch colonization era, the mechanism of agglomeration
economy applies. This has also been encouraged by policies of the governments and enforced by
the urbanisation economy. Unfortunately, this keeps going without any sign of inversion to the
extent that inequities may have been happening.

Figure 5: Poverty Levels in the Blitar Region


Sources: data adapted from BRSO 2010; BCSO 2010.

101

Equity Failures in Benefit Distribution


As defined in the propositions, eight policy areas most related to the benefit distribution function
were investigated. Random sampling was applied to the poor households of Blitar Region to
understand their perceptions on the equity issues. With confidence level of 90%, the sample size
is 100, distributed proportionally to every district as described previously in the methodology
section. The results of the findings can be seen in Table 3 for the North part and Table 4 for the
South part of Blitar.
Table 3: Equity Failures in North Blitar Sub-region
Equity Issue

Policy Aspect

Ia
Existing
overall score:
4.43 (severe)
Ib
Existing
overall score:
6.46
(moderate)

Job Opportunity
Taxation
Minimum Wage
Social Security
Education
Services
Health Services
Basic
Infrastructure
Sheltering

Notes:

Existing
Situation
(Inequity level)
severe (3.97)
moderate (6.07)
moderate (5.00)
severe (2.70)
moderate (5.59)

Trend of the
last 5 years

Priority Level

not good (4.65)


not good (8.62)
fair (4.78)
fair (3.14)
fair (5.54)

2
5
3
1
4

moderate (6.65)
moderate (6.36)

fair (6.41)
fair (6.07)

7
6

low (7.24)

fair (7.50)

The score is on the scale of 0 10; Severe: <= 5.00; Moderate: 5.01 6.99; Low: 7.00 9.99;
For the trend, not good (d<= -0.50); fair (-0.50<d<0.50); not bad (2.00=>d>= 0.50); good (d>2.00), where d is
the increase or decline during the last five years.

Source: Questionnaire results, 2011.


Table 4: Equity Failures in South Blitar Sub-region
Equity Issue

Policy Aspect

Existing
Situation
(Inequity level)
severe (4.48)
moderate (5.28)
moderate (5.00)
severe (2.40)
severe (4.70)

Trend of the
last 5 years

Ia
Existing
overall score:
4.29 (severe)
Ib
Existing
overall score:
6.56
(moderate)

Job Opportunity
fair (4.29)
Taxation
not good (6.92)
Minimum Wage
not good (5.67)
Social Security
fair (2.86)
Education
fair (5.09)
Services
Health Services
low (7.50)
fair (7.16)
Basic
moderate (6.40) fair (6.60)
Infrastructure
Sheltering
low (7.62)
fair (7.50)
Source: Questionnaire results, 2011.

Priority
Level
2
5
4
1
3
7
6
8

It can clearly be confirmed that equity failures have been there with regard to issue Ia
(employment system) and Ib (services and infrastructure). The existing situations show a severe
level of inequity Ia and a moderate level of inequity Ib in both the North and South parts of Blitar.

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SUGIRI AND NURAINI: TOWARDS EQUITY-BASED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

There is no significant difference between the two sub-regions as far as the overall inequities are
concerned. More unfortunate is that all the trends are between not good to fair.

Job Opportunity
In this regard, both the North and South Blitar are in severe inequity with a slightly worse situation
in the North. The trends during the last five years are also different. The significant difference in
the trends may reflect some important features. Firstly, the North Blitar as a faster growing subregion led by Blitar City has been attracting people to live in. However, the jobs created by the
economic growth have been insufficient for all the incoming job seekers, especially for those who
are actually locals. Although the economic performance and annual growth rates have been fine,
the quality is definitely questionable. That is why the worse-off people feel deprived from the
opportunity severely. Secondly, although the existing situation is not better in the South, the fair
trend as perceived by the worse-off may be an indication of higher resilience level in the South.
Further study on this issue may be needed to yield in more appropriate job creation policies.

Taxation
It is apparent that the worse-off people are well aware of the importance of taxation and they pay
all taxes obligated to them. However, their perception that equity failure is there at the moderate
level in both North and South parts of Blitar and that the trend is not good could perhaps be
important indications of their feelings on the improper use of taxes for development and
distribution purposes.

Minimum Wage
It is interesting that not all the worse-off are aware of the minimum wage standard commanded by
the local governments of Blitar Regency and Blitar City. However, they all agree that decision
about the minimum wage should not be left to market mechanism alone. Rather, local governments
should interfere in favour of the deprived labour force. Furthermore, equity failure in this aspect is
perceived at the moderate level for both the North and South parts of Blitar. On the other hand,
different trends occur between the North (fair) and the South (not good).

Social Security
Almost all of the worse-off people in Blitar (97%) are of the opinion that all of the population
should get proper social security. However, only 17% of them believe that jobless people should
get social allowance for fulfilling their basic needs. This to some extent shows that they are actually
hardworking people with high work ethos. There is no significant difference between the North
and South perceptions in this regard. Equity failure is perceived at the severe level. The trend in
the last five years is considered fair in both the North and the South Blitar.

Education Services
All of the worse-off people agree that good and affordable education should be available for all
(equal opportunity). 71% of the respondents have children at the school age group. However, 29%
of them in the North Blitar and 10% in the South Blitar have not been able to enrol their children
to schools due to financial reasons. In general, inequity in education services is considered at the
moderate level in the North and severe in the South. The trend in both sub-regions is considered
fair. This is just as expected, i.e. in accordance with the commonly believed North-South
inequality.

103

Health Services
That all respondents believe that good and affordable health services should be available for all
has confirmed the proposition of equal opportunity in this issue. However, the existing health
services are perceived as insufficient by 27% of the respondents (34% in the North and 10% in the
South). The main reason of this dissatisfaction is the over agglomeration of the health service units
in mostly Blitar City (78%). It is interesting that the worse-off people of the North Blitar are those
more dissatisfied. This is in accordance with the overall inequity in this aspect, which is perceived
as at the moderate level in the North and, somewhat surprisingly, at the low level in the South.

Basic Infrastructure (Road, Electricity, Clean Water, Drainage, Telecommunication)


In this aspect, the worse-off people also agree that good and affordable basic infrastructure should
be available for all (equal opportunity). Inequity in this respect is considered at the moderate level
for both the North and South Blitar, and the trend is fair. The difference between the North and the
South can be identified when detailing the dissatisfaction. While in the North Blitar the worse-off
people are not satisfied with the electricity, in the South it is clean water that is considered
insufficient.

Sheltering/Housing
It is interesting to know that majority of the worse-off (85%) are of the opinion that good and
affordable sheltering should be made available for them by the governments. This is in contrast
with the recent governmental paradigm as facilitator, not as provider. However, when considering
the equity failure in this aspect, the worse-off people perceive it as at the low level with fair trend
for both the North and South parts of Blitar. As the field observation has confirmed that there is no
slum or shanty area in the Blitar Region, this aspect would apparently be no problem.

Concluding Remarks
A complete answer to the research question has been obtained through the confirmation of the
propositions. In addition to this, enrichment to the propositions has also been resulted from the
findings discussion as will be presented below. It is therefore strongly recommended for the local
governments of Blitar Regency and Blitar City, and the Provincial Government of East Java to
reformulate the regional policies in the eight aspects with prioritisation and important
considerations as described below.

Prioritisation in the Policy Reformulation


Two equity failures in benefit distribution as stated in the propositions are confirmed and so is the
need to reformulate policies on the related eight aspects. The prioritisation should be somewhat
different between the North and the South parts of Blitar.
For the North Blitar sub-region:
1. Social security
2. Job opportunity
3. Minimum wage
4. Education services
5. Taxation
6. Basic infrastructure
7. Health services
8. Housing for the poor and low income people.

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On the other hand, for the South part of Blitar the priority order should be:
1. Social security
2. Job opportunity
3. Education services
4. Minimum wage
5. Taxation
6. Basic infrastructure
7. Health services
8. Housing for the poor and low income people.

Important Features to Consider in the Policy Reformulation


The local worse-off people are those who feel the most about the equity failures in benefit
distribution. Therefore, their aspirations should be considered in the policy reformulation so that
the public policy can facilitate them better in getting equitable benefits from the development. The
main aspirations as responses to the semi-open questions in the questionnaire are as follows:
benefits sharing should be defined by involving local communities (neighbourhood units);
local people should be prioritised in getting jobs;
neighbourhood units should involve in defining and planning CSRs (Corporate Social
Responsibility);
CSRs should be more comprehensive for regional development purposes;
Other aspirations, such as relevant skill training, compensation of negative impacts, small
business credit helps and infrastructure development.
Furthermore, in addition to considering the extent of equity failures that is from low to severe
levels, the policy reformulation in each of the eight aspects should also consider important features
listed in Table 5.
Finally, it is not less important to conclude that equity application, in terms of assuring fairness
in the development process and justice in the distribution of the benefits, is at the core of the efforts
in resolving the spatial inequality. This very principle of humanity should therefore be of much
concern for all development stakeholders.

105

Table 5: Important Things to Consider in the Policy Reformulation in the Blitar Region
No.

Policy Aspect

Important Considerations

Social Security

Job Opportunity

Education
Services

Minimum
Wage

Taxation

Basic
Infrastructure

Health Services

Sheltering

It is the top priority for both the North and South parts, as perceived by
people
Types of social security able to improve affordability in education and
health services should be prioritised
May start integrating CSRs into this aspect
Corruption is perceived as severe. So, corruption eradication is very
important.
The second priority for both the North and the South
Training for low skilled workforce should be well related to the
economic activity needs
The expectation of the worse-off people is more on local and provincial
policies to encourage
Corruption eradication is very important because corruption is still
perceived by people as severe.
The third priority for the South, while the fourth for the North
The affordability to basic education services is decreasing significantly
Programs to provide innovative financial help for the worse-off should
be formulated
Need to integrate with social security schemes
Corruption eradication is a must.
The third priority for the North would mean for the Blitar City, while
the fourth priority for the South could mean for the Blitar Regency
Provincial and local governments should intervene
Need to increase the minimum wage rates
Need more effective enforcement as it has been weak so far.
Peoples awareness about tax function is good
Peoples willingness to be taxed is good
The existing tax rates are too high
Need to minimize double tax cases
Corruption eradication is very important.
Infrastructure services in remote areas (both the North and South Blitar)
need attention
Electricity should be prioritized in the North, while clean water in the
South
Need innovative infrastructure development plans, including the
application of Public Private Partnerships
Corruption eradication is important.
Business as usual may apply in this aspect as the situation and the trend
have been good enough; however,
Remote areas in both the North and the South need more attention,
especially because there is a tendency to over agglomeration in Blitar
City.
Business as usual may apply in this aspect as the equity failure is low,
even the lowest among other aspects, and the trend is fair.

Source: Authors analysis results, 2012.

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SUGIRI AND NURAINI: TOWARDS EQUITY-BASED REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Acknowledgement
The authors would like to express much gratitude to The Master of Urban and Regional
Development Program of Diponegoro University for the encouragement through the fund granted
for this research.

107

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS


Agung Sugiri: Mr. Sugiri is a lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning,
Diponegoro University, Semarang, Indonesia. He pioneered teaching sustainable development in
his university in 2000 as a subject for both Bachelor and Master programs. He received his
Bachelor degree from ITB (Institute of Technology, Bandung) and his Master of Planning Studies
from University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. He firstly published the concept of equity-based
development in a chapter of a book (Environmental Ethics: Sustainability and Education) edited
by E. Weber, published by Interdisciplinary Press, Oxford in 2009.
Nurul Nuraini: Ms. Nuraini is a local government officer of Blitar Regency (Kabupaten Blitar),
East Java Province, Indonesia. She received her bachelor degree from Muhammadiyah University
of Malang, majoring in Civil Engineering, and has just received her Masters of Urban and Regional
Development degree from Diponegoro University, Semarang in January 2012. Her master thesis
was supervised by Agung Sugiri.

109

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and


Community Studies is one of five thematically focused
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In addition to papers of a traditional scholarly type,
this journal invites case studies that take the form of
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