Easterly (2003) has succinctly described Pakistan’s development experience as the paradox of growth without development. This paradox is recognition of the fact that Pakistan’s successful 60 years of economic growth has not been able to translate into meaningful social development for a majority of its citizens.
This has meant that Pakistan’s development trajectory has resulted in unequal social development, especially in terms of public service delivery. The literature on poverty and governance reforms in Pakistan has emphasised some aspects of this inequality, such as the variation that exists in schooling and public health outcomes across provinces and across the rural-urban and gender divide.
This chapter addresses the extent to which Pakistan’s latest experiment with local government reforms, encapsulated in the Local Government Ordinance 2001, has been able to reduce the inequality or gaps in provision outcomes within union councils. The chapter uses household data generated as part of the LUMS-McGill Social Enterprise Development Programme (SEDP) to analyze whether the inequality in provision outcomes between different villages within a union council, and between different social, political and occupational groups within each village has been reduced or exacerbated as a result of these reforms.