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Centralization, Decentralization, and Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa

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  • Tosun, Mehmet Serkan

    ()
    (University of Nevada-Reno)

  • Yilmaz, Serdar

    ()
    (The World Bank)

Abstract

This paper examines broadly the intergovernmental structure in the Middle East and North Africa region, which has one of the most centralized government structures in the world. The authors address the reasons behind this centralized structure by looking first at the history behind the tax systems of the region. They review the Ottoman taxation system, which has been predominantly influential as a model, and discuss its impact on current government structure. They also discuss the current intergovernmental structure by examining the type and degree of decentralization in five countries representative of the region: Egypt, Iran, West Bank/Gaza, Tunisia, and Yemen. Cross-country regression analysis using panel data for a broader set of countries leads to better understanding of the factors behind heavy centralization in the region. The findings show that external conflicts constitute a major roadblock to decentralization in the region.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4774.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4774

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Keywords: Fiscal decentralization; intergovernmental relations; Middle East and North Africa;

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  1. Ebel, Robert D. & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2002. "On the measurement and impact of fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2809, The World Bank.
  2. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli, 2003. "Risk, Transaction Costs, and Tax Assignment: Government Finance in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2003-04, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2004.
  3. Metin M. Cosgel, 2004. "Efficiency and Continuity in Public Finance: The Ottoman System of Taxation," Working papers 2004-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2004.
  4. Arzaghi, Mohammad & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Why countries are fiscally decentralizing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1157-1189, July.
  5. Panizza, Ugo, 1999. "On the determinants of fiscal centralization: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 97-139, October.
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