Decentralizing development: Allocating public goods via competition
Decentralizing the allocation of public goods by giving funds directly to communities takes advantage of local information concerning needs, but leaves funds open to misuse or capture by local elites. A large scale development project in Indonesia attempts to overcome this downside of decentralized allocation by having communities compete locally for block grants. Competition weeds out less efficient projects. Increasing the number of villages bidding by 10% leads to a 1.8% decline in road construction costs. Increased community participation in project planning also leads to better outcomes.
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