The Phantom of Rent-Seeking in Democratic Indonesia: Resource Governance at Sub-National Level

Poppy S. Winanti1 and Muhammad Djindan2

1Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of International Relations, Indonesia,

2Universitas Gadjah Mada Department of Politics and Government, , Indonesia

The fall of Soeharto has marked a major political change in Indonesia which is mainly characterized by the broader implementation of democratization and decentralization. This article focuses on the changes, or the lack thereof, in extractive industries governance in the post authoritarian regime and its impact on the welfare of the local community. It is widely believed that decentralization has provided the sub-national government with a greater authority and thus is expected to create a better extractive industries governance. However, more than twenty years after reformasi we found that the political change in the form of decentralization in extractive industries governance does not necessarily create a more democratic extractive governance, let alone bring prosperity for the people as expected. The experience of some resource-rich regions shows that the failure of greater autonomy in decentralization is mainly caused by the fact that locally-based natural resources governance also provides more opportunities for local political actors to engage in rent-seeking activities. Despite the decentralization and greater autonomy in the governance of extractive industries, this article argues that there is a lack of meaningful democratic changes in this sector.


Poppy S. Winanti is a Senior lecturer at the International Relations Department, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM). Currently she also serves as a Non-Resident Fellow, Perth USAsia Centre. Her research interests cover global and regional trade relations in global political economy; conflict and political economy of natural resources and extractive industries; Indonesia’s economic diplomacy, and South-South Cooperation. She holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Glasgow. Her PhD thesis focused on developing countries compliance and non-compliance with the TRIPs Agreement. Poppy is the author of a number of publications, including as one of the contributors for a book chapter published by Routledge and Springer, editors of books published by Gadjah Mada University Press, and some journal articles. Her recent publications include regulatory framework on IPR in Indonesia; Indonesia-Australia trade relations in the Indo-Pacific Era; the politics of ASEAN cooperation; extractive industry, policy innovations and civil society movement in Southeast Asia.
Muhammad Djindan is a lecturer at the Department of Politics and Government, Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia. Prior to assuming his current position, Djindan worked for more than five years in international development organizations such as Oxfam, UNDP, and GIZ in Indonesia. He has a bachelor degree in political science and a master degree in environmental policy from Wageningen University. His research focus is on sustainable natural resource use, extractive industries governance, and environmental policy.



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.

Photo Credits: Visit Victoria

© 2019 Conference Design Pty Ltd