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The Impact of Recentralization on Public Services: A Difference-in-Differences Analysis of the Abolition of Elected Councils in Vietnam

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  • MALESKY, EDMUND J.
  • NGUYEN, CUONG VIET
  • TRAN, ANH

Abstract

Comparative political economy offers a wealth of hypotheses connecting decentralization to improved public service delivery. In recent years, influential formal and experimental work has begun to question the underlying theory and empirical analyses of previous findings. At the same time, many countries have grown dissatisfied with the results of their decentralization efforts and have begun to reverse them. Vietnam is particularly intriguing because of the unique way in which it designed its recentralization, piloting a removal of elected People’s Councils in ninety-nine districts across the country and stratifying the selection by region, type of province, and urban versus rural setting. We take advantage of the opportunity provided by this quasi-experiment to test the core hypotheses regarding the decision to shift administrative and fiscal authority to local governments. We find that recentralization significantly improved public service delivery in areas important to central policy-makers, especially in transportation, healthcare, and communications.
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Suggested Citation

  • Malesky, Edmund J. & Nguyen, Cuong Viet & Tran, Anh, 2014. "The Impact of Recentralization on Public Services: A Difference-in-Differences Analysis of the Abolition of Elected Councils in Vietnam," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 108(01), pages 144-168, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:108:y:2014:i:01:p:144-168_00
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    1. repec:oup:publus:v:48:y:2018:i:4:p:523-558. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:taf:jdevst:v:53:y:2017:i:1:p:156-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Raúl A Ponce-Rodríguez & Charles R Hankla & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Eunice Heredia-Ortiz, 2018. "Rethinking the Political Economy of Decentralization: How Elections and Parties Shape the Provision of Local Public Goods," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 523-558.
    4. John Rand, 2017. "Are politically connected firms less constrained in credit markets?," WIDER Working Paper Series 200, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Federico Revelli, 2016. "Tax limits and local elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 166(1), pages 53-68, January.
    6. repec:eee:wdevel:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:172-186 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Maier, Carl, 2016. "Local public goods as perfect substitutes -- centralization vs. decentralization," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145928, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics
    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General

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