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Decentralizing development: Allocating public goods via competition


  • Chavis, Larry


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Chavis, Larry, 2010. "Decentralizing development: Allocating public goods via competition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 264-274, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:93:y:2010:i:2:p:264-274

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2006. "Pro-poor targeting and accountability of local governments in West Bengal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 303-327, April.
    2. Ghazala Mansuri, 2004. "Community-Based and -Driven Development: A Critical Review," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(1), pages 1-39.
    3. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 2006. "Decentralisation and Accountability in Infrastructure Delivery in Developing Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(508), pages 101-127, January.
    4. Andrei Shleifer, 1985. "A Theory of Yardstick Competition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(3), pages 319-327, Autumn.
    5. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
    6. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
    7. Alderman, Harold, 2002. "Do local officials know something we don't? Decentralization of targeted transfers in Albania," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 375-404, March.
    8. Olken, Benjamin A., 2006. "Corruption and the costs of redistribution: Micro evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 853-870, May.
    9. Fitria Fitrani & Bert Hofman & Kai Kaiser, 2005. "Unity in diversity? The creation of new local governments in a decentralising Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 57-79.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cavalcanti, Carina & Leibbrandt, Andreas, 2015. "Dry promotions and community participation: Evidence from a natural field experiment in Brazilian fishing villages," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 457-465.
    2. Emilie Caldeira & Martial Foucault & Gregoire Rota-Graziosi, 2015. "Decentralization in Africa and the nature of local governments’ competition: evidence from Benin," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(6), pages 1048-1076, December.
    3. Iliopoulos Constantine N. & Valentinov Vladislav & Kvartiuk Vasyl & Bartkowski Bartosz, 2013. "Government–Third Sector Relations in European Rural Development: A Critical Perspective," Nonprofit Policy Forum, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 65-80, May.
    4. Pan, Lei & Christiaensen, Luc, 2012. "Who is Vouching for the Input Voucher? Decentralized Targeting and Elite Capture in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1619-1633.


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