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Decentralization and service delivery

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  • Ahmad, Junaid
  • Devarajan, Shantayanan
  • Khemani, Stuti
  • Shah, Shekhar

Abstract

Dissatisfied with centralized approaches to delivering local public services, a large number of countries are decentralizing responsibility for these services to lower-level, locally elected governments. The results have been mixed. The paper provides a framework for evaluating the benefits and costs, in terms of service delivery, of different approaches to decentralization, based on relationships of accountability between different actors in the delivery chain. Moving from a model of central provision to that of decentralization to local governments introduces a new relationship of accountability-between national and local policymakers-while altering existing relationships, such as that between citizens and elected politicians. Only by examining how these relationships change can we understand why decentralization can, and sometimes cannot, lead to better service delivery. In particular, the various instruments of decentralization-fiscal, administrative, regulatory, market, and financial-can affect the incentives facing service providers, even though they relate only to local policymakers. Likewise, and perhaps more significantly, the incentives facing local and national politicians can have a profound effect on the provision of local services. Finally, the process of implementing decentralization can be as important as the design of the system in influencing service delivery outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3603.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3603

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Keywords: Public Sector Economics&Finance; National Governance; Banks&Banking Reform; Municipal Financial Management; Governance Indicators;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. repec:idb:brikps:70098 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Ahmad Zafarullah Abdul Jalil & Mukaramah Harun & Siti Hadijah Che Mat, 2012. "Macroeconomic Instability and Fiscal Decentralization: An Empirical Analysis," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2012(2), pages 150-165.
  3. Independent Evaluation Group, 2010. "Water and Development : An Evaluation of World Bank Support, 1997-2007, Volume 1," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2485, August.
  4. Daniel Benitez & Antonio Estache & Tina Soreide, 2010. "Dealing with Politics for Money and Power in Infrastructure," Working Papers ECARES, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles ECARES 2010-031, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  5. Sara Giannozzi & Asmeen Khan, 2013. "Strengthening Governance of Social Safety Nets in ASEAN," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16722, The World Bank.
  6. Abdul Jalil, Ahmad Zafarullah, 2009. "Decentralization, Subnational Governments' Behaviour and Macroeconomic Instability: The Case of Malaysia," MPRA Paper 19071, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Narayan, Ambar & Dasgupta, Basab & Kaiser, Kai, 2011. "Electoral accountability, fiscal decentralization and service delivery in Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5614, The World Bank.
  8. King, Elizabeth M. & Orazem, Peter F. & Paterno, Elizabeth M., 2008. "Promotion with and without learning : effects on student enrollment and dropout behavior," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4722, The World Bank.
  9. World Bank, 2008. "Guinea - Decentralization in Guinea : Strengthening Accountability for Better Service Delivery," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7891, The World Bank.
  10. Baltusnikiene, Jurate, 2009. "Viešojo valdymo sistemos decentralizacija: turinys, pranašumai ir trūkumai
    [The decentralization of public management systems]
    ," MPRA Paper 16561, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Gonçalves, Sónia, 2014. "The Effects of Participatory Budgeting on Municipal Expenditures and Infant Mortality in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 94-110.
  12. Vásquez, William F., 2011. "Household preferences and governance of water services: A hedonic analysis from rural Guatemala," IFPRI discussion papers, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 1152, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Dasgupta, Basab & Narayan, Ambar & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 2009. "Measuring the quality of education and health services : the use of perception data from Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5033, The World Bank.
  14. Fabio Sánchez, 2006. "Descentralización Y Progreso En El Acceso A Los Servicios Sociales De Educación, Salud Y Agua Y Alcantarillado," DOCUMENTOS CEDE, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE 002287, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  15. World Bank, 2007. "Local Government Discretion and Accountability : A Local Governance Framework," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7859, The World Bank.
  16. Giorgio Brosio & Ehtisham Ahmad & Maria Gonzalez, 2006. "Uganda," IMF Working Papers 06/279, International Monetary Fund.

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