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Decentralization Dilemma: Measuring the Degree and Evaluating the Outcomes

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  • Sharma, Chanchal Kumar

Abstract

Though decentralization for past one and half decade or so has become the most favoured policy priority among the policy makers yet the countries around the world differ dramatically in the degree of decentralization that is accommodated. While diversity in degree of decentralization across the world is a fact yet there is no consensus in the empirical literature over the questions like ‘which country is more decentralized?’ This is because decentralization is defined and measured differently in different studies. In fact, a true assessment of the degree of decentralization in a country can be made only if a comprehensive approach is adopted and rather than trying to simplify the syndrome of characteristics into the single dimension of autonomy, interrelationships of various dimensions of decentralization are taken into account. Thus it is to be realized that there is no simple one dimensional, quantifiable index of degree of decentralization in a given country. As there is wide diversity in the studies on degree of decentralization so is the case with the literature on outcomes of it. Outcome varies not only because decentralization can appear in various forms and combinations across countries but also because different instruments may have very different effects in different ccircumstances. Thus arriving at the precise definition of decentralization and associating it with particular outcomes is neither possible nor desirable for the simple reason that generalization of any kind can create pitfalls that can obscure rather than clarify the facts. What is more important is the need for a strictly contextual yet comprehensive approach while going beyond the blunt measures like expenditure decentralization and taking politics and institutional arrangements of the specific case under investigation also into account.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 204.

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Date of creation: 26 Jul 2004
Date of revision: Nov 2005
Publication status: Published in Indian Journal of Political Science No. (1).Vol. ((2006): pp. 49-64
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:204

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Keywords: Decentralization; measurement; outcome;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Libman, Alexander, 2009. "Essays on Asymmetric Federalism," MPRA Paper 21591, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Van Mechelen, Natascha & De Maesschalck, Veerle, 2007. "Devolution as a means to adequate social safety nets?," MPRA Paper 13419, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Cesena, Marc Guinjoa & Casarramona, Toni Rodon, 2011. "Beyond Identities: Support for Decentralisation Across Regions in Spain," MPRA Paper 30554, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Schakel, Arjan H., 2008. "Validation of the Regional Authority Index," MPRA Paper 8972, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Libman, Alexander, 2009. "Constitutions, Regulations, and Taxes: Contradictions of Different Aspects of Decentralization," MPRA Paper 15854, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Kundishora, Phillip, 2009. "An overview of decentralization and local governance in Eastern and Southern Africa," MPRA Paper 15701, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Brinkerhoff, Derick W. & Johnson, Ronald W., 2009. "Decentralized Local Governance In Fragile States: Learning From Iraq," MPRA Paper 21505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Abdul Jalil, Ahmad Zafarullah, 2009. "Decentralization, Subnational Governments' Behaviour and Macroeconomic Instability: The Case of Malaysia," MPRA Paper 19071, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Lara, Carlos Icaza & Pezzini, Mario & Villarreal, Roberto & Garcilazo, Enrique & Davies, Andrew, 2009. "Institutional Reform:Improving the Effectiveness of Policy Delivery," MPRA Paper 16567, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Hills, Roderick, 2009. "Federalism and Public Choice," MPRA Paper 13625, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, 2008. "Emerging Dimensions Of Decentralization Debate In The Age Of Glocalization," MPRA Paper 6734, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Rockel, Adam J., 2008. "The Efficacy of Decentralization in the Republic of Macedonia," MPRA Paper 30552, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  13. Schakel, Arjan Hille, 2009. "A Postfunctionalist Theory of Regional Government," MPRA Paper 21596, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Bagaka, Obuya, 2008. "Fiscal Decentralization in Kenya: The Constituency Development Fund and the Growth of Government," MPRA Paper 11813, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Charbit, Claire & Michalun, Varinia, 2009. "E-Government Partnerships Across Levels of Government," MPRA Paper 16564, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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