This study is a part of a long-term monitoring and evaluation (M&E) program of the Eastern Indonesia National Road Improvement Project (EINRIP). A longitudinal qualitative social research, with surveys of local social and economic relationships, were carried out before (baseline) and after the road construction (monitoring).
The Eastern Indonesia National Road Improvement Project (EINRIP) is the Indonesian and Australian government’s initiative to improve national roads in eastern Indonesia. The EINRIP project aims to improve road links so that the national road network provides acceptable standards of service and accessibility and can support local and regional economic development. Between 2007 and 2015, EINRIP worked on improving the quality of the national road in nine provinces1 with a total length of around 400 km.
The SMERU Research Institute (SMERU) has been conducting a qualitative longitudinal study to record the changes in the socioeconomic conditions of the people living near four of the EINRIP roads by comparing the conditions between baseline and end line studies. Baseline study was carried out shortly before the road improvement works started, and end line study (first monitoring) was carried out approximately one year after the road works were substantially complete.
Thereafter, SMERU conducted a follow-up study (second monitoring) in Sumbawa and South Kalimantan in 2017, followed by South Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara in 2018. Through several monitorings, the study recorded changes in the socioeconomic conditions of the people by comparing the conditions before and after the EINRIP road improvements. The monitoring studies up to 2016 found some social impacts that were related to the improvement in accessibility, such as facilitation of the provision of education, health and agricultural extension services; improved provision of mobile retailing services; and increased personal mobility (particularly for women). Besides that, the road improvements had encouraged economic developments, especially the emergence of new businesses located in the areas passed by the improved roads.
The objective of the follow-up study is to make a longer-term assessment of the socioeconomic outcomes and impacts of the improvement of the EINRIP project roads in each research site. The assessment will consider the findings of the baseline study and the end line study. In general, the main focus of the follow-up study is the relationship between road improvements and economic development in the research sites by exploring differential impacts on different livelihoods. The 2018 study specifically seeks to find out how and to what extent the EINRIP national road improvements affect the community income in the sample villages in Kabupaten Nagekeo and Kabupaten Bulukumba.
This study found that national road improvements by EINRIP have been shown to contribute positively to the enhancement of the economic activity which then leads to increased income and welfare of the community. The increased accessibility and the flow of transportation in the region has encouraged people's mobility to carry out economic activities. Thus, the community has better access to production inputs to increase the quantity and quality of production, as well as a broader market reach to sell their commodities.
However, other factors identified are also important, although it is difficult to see how much each factor contributes because they are interconnected. In both locations, different livelihood and commodity price change, private sector investment, government policies and programs, and socio-cultural factors defined the economic activities as well as determined the magnitude of benefit of the national road improvement for economic development.