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Applying a simple measure of good governance to the debate on fiscal decentralization

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  • Huther, Jeff
  • Shah, Anwar

Abstract

Debates about the appropriate role, policies, and institutions of the state are often hampered by the lack of a definition for good government. To provide a quantifiable measure of good government, the authors develop an index for the quality of governance for a sample of 80 countries. They apply the index to the debate on the appropriate level of fiscal decentralization. In measuring the quality of governance, the authors develop indices for the government's ability to: a) Ensure political transparency and a voice for all citizens (the citizen participation index measures political freedom and political stability). b) Provide effective public services efficiently (the government orientation index measures judicial and bureaucratic efficiency and the absence of corruption). c) Promote the health and well-being of its citizens (the social development index measures human development and equitable distribution of income). d) Create a favorable climate for stable economic growth (the economic management index measures outward orientation, independence of the central bank, and an inverted debt-to-GDP ratio). In relating the index of governance quality to degree of fiscal decentralization for the 80 countries, the authors are not surprised to find a positive relationship between fiscal decentralization and quality of governance. But the strength of the correlation is surprising.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1894.

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Date of creation: 31 Mar 1998
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1894

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Related research

Keywords: Banks&Banking Reform; Decentralization; Municipal Financial Management; Economic Theory&Research; Health Economics&Finance; Municipal Financial Management; National Governance; Governance Indicators; Economic Theory&Research; Banks&Banking Reform;

References

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  1. Prud'homme, Remy, 1995. "The Dangers of Decentralization," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 201-20, August.
  2. Bomfim, Antulio & Shah, Anwar, 1994. "Macroeconomic management and the division of powers in Brazil: Perspectives for the 1990s," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 535-542, April.
  3. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  4. Boadway,Robin & Shah,Anwar, 2009. "Fiscal Federalism," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521518215, October.
  5. Cukierman, Alex & Webb, Steven B & Neyapti, Bilin, 1992. "Measuring the Independence of Central Banks and Its Effect on Policy Outcomes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(3), pages 353-98, September.
  6. Boadway, Robin & Roberts, Sandra & Shah, Anwar, 1994. "The reform of fiscal systems in developing and emerging market economies : a federalism perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1259, The World Bank.
  7. Landon, Stuart, 1999. "Education costs and institutional structure," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 327-345, June.
  8. Deininger, K & Squire, L, 1996. "Measuring Income Inequality : A New Data-Base," Papers 537, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Barankay, Iwan & Lockwood, Ben, 2006. "Decentralization and the Productive Efficiency of Government: Evidence from Swiss Cantons," CEPR Discussion Papers 5639, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Lessmann, Christian & Markwardt, Gunther, 2008. "One size fits all? Decentralization, corruption, and the monitoring of bureaucrats," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 14/08, Dresden University of Technology, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.
  3. Duret, Elsa & Ventelou, Bruno, 2004. "Regionalization, public spending and growth: a stylized model dealing with 'predatory states'," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1039-1050, December.
  4. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2000. "Decentralization and corruption - evidence across countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2290, The World Bank.
  5. Eggert, Wolfgang & Sørensen, Peter Birch, 2008. "The effects of tax competition when politicians create rents to buy political support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1142-1163, June.
  6. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McNab, Robert M., 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1597-1616, September.
  7. Roger R. Betancourt & Suzanne Gleason, 1999. "The Allocation of Publicly-Provided Goods to Rural Households in India: On Some Consequences of Caste, Religion and Democracy," Electronic Working Papers 99-004, University of Maryland, Department of Economics.
  8. Faguet, Jean-Paul & Ali, Zulfiqar, 2009. "Making Reform Work: Institutions, Dispositions, and the Improving Health of Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 208-218, January.
  9. Woods, Ngaire, 2000. "The Challenge of Good Governance for the IMF and the World Bank Themselves," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 823-841, May.
  10. Fan, C. Simon & Lin, Chen & Treisman, Daniel, 2009. "Political decentralization and corruption: Evidence from around the world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 14-34, February.
  11. G. Gulsun Arikan, 2004. "Fiscal Decentralization: A Remedy for Corruption?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 175-195, 03.
  12. Chowdhury, Shyamnal & Yamauchi, Futoshi & Dewina, Reno, 2009. "Governance decentralization and local infrastructure provision in Indonesia:," IFPRI discussion papers 902, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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