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Edmund Malesky provides overview of Vietnamese citizens’ satisfaction with e-governance

The Duke Center for International Development director discussed results from the 2023 Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index during the annual report’s launch event.

Research co-authored by Edmund Malesky, professor of political economy and director of the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), shows progress in Vietnamese citizens’ perceptions on local anti-corruption efforts and e-governance amid concern on transparency and the economy.

Malesky is part of the research team for the Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI), a policy monitoring tool assessing Vietnamese citizens’ experiences and satisfaction of the state of governance and public service provision at the national and local levels. The annual survey measures eight dimensions: participation at local levels, transparency, vertical accountability, control of corruption, public administrative procedures, public service delivery, environmental governance and e-government.

Since its inception 15 years ago, PAPI has collected the voices of 197,779 citizens from all demographic backgrounds. With its wealth of quantitative data, PAPI has emerged as a trusted, citizen-centric tool to inform the country’s legislative and policy agendas and the action plans of all 63 provincial governments.

During the launch event for the 2023 PAPI report, held on April 2 in Hanoi, Vietnam, Malesky presented insights into citizens’ internet access and use of public service online portals. In 2023, access to the internet and access to provincial e-governance portals both rose relative to 2020. At the same time, while nearly 80 percent of PAPI survey respondents in 2023 had internet access at home, the results also highlighted digital divides, showing access to the internet varied across gender, living areas, ethnicity and migrant status.

Findings also revealed that citizens are slow to switch to e-governance, with just 8.3 and 7.6 percent of respondents using the umbrella National E-Service Portal (NESP) or Provincial E-Service Portals (PESP) available in all 63 provinces, respectively. A reason for the limited users is privacy concerns, as stated by one-third of users.

These findings underline the need for substantial improvements to make services more accessible, user-friendly, convenient and inclusive for all citizen user, as well as the need to address citizens’ privacy concerns.

Also speaking at the launch event was PAPI research team member Huyen Thanh Do, who previously studied in Duke’s Master of International Development Policy program and earned Duke’s graduate certificate in international development policy in 2020. Do, a policy and programme analyst with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  in Vietnam, shared during the closing panel session that the UNDP plans to discuss the PAPI results with provincial government leaders on a deeper level to help them understand the reasons behind the citizens’ survey responses.

Access the 2023 PAPI Report and view the launch event recording

PAPI is the result of collaboration between the Centre for Community Support and Development Studies (CECODES), Real-Time Analytics and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with the support for fieldwork coordination from the Vietnam Fatherland Front’s central agencies and their provincial to grassroots chapters since 2009.

Along with Malesky and Do, the 2023 report is co-authored by Đặng Hoàng Giang, deputy director of CECODES; Paul Schuler, associate professor of political science at the University of Arizona; and Trần Công Chính, deputy director of CECODES and a lecturer at the Vietnam National University.