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Governance and basic social services: ensuring accountability in service delivery through deep democratic decentralization


  • Santosh Mehrotra

    (The Asia Bureau, UNDP)


Ensuring accountability of local functionaries for effective delivery of basic social services has been a perennial problem of development. Since the poor have limited prospects of 'exit', 'voice' alone works to ensure effectiveness of service delivery. Accountability of lower-level functionaries to superiors in a vertical line ministry is rarely effective. The paper spells out a model of deep democratic decentralization that has been demonstrated to work in a number of countries. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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  • Santosh Mehrotra, 2006. "Governance and basic social services: ensuring accountability in service delivery through deep democratic decentralization," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 263-283.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:18:y:2006:i:2:p:263-283 DOI: 10.1002/jid.1219

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1999. "Relative Capture of Local and Central Governments: An Essay in the Political Economy of Decentralization," Center for International and Development Economics Research (CIDER) Working Papers 233624, University of California-Berkeley, Department of Economics.
    2. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    3. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
    4. Mehrotra, S., 1998. "Education for All: Policy Lessons from High-Achieving Countries," Papers 98-005, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
    5. Paul, Samuel, 1992. "Accountability in public services: Exit, voice and control," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 1047-1060, July.
    6. Streeten, Paul, 1993. "Markets and states: Against minimalism," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(8), pages 1281-1298, August.
    7. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
    8. Wade, Robert, 1985. "The market for public office: Why the Indian state is not better at development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 467-497, April.
    9. Blair, Harry, 2000. "Participation and Accountability at the Periphery: Democratic Local Governance in Six Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 21-39, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Benitez & Antonio Estache & Tina Søreide, 2012. "Infrastructure policy and governance failures," CMI Working Papers 5, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
    2. Argentino Pessoa, 2008. "Public-private partnerships in developing countries: are infrastructures responding to the new ODA strategy?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(3), pages 311-325.
    3. Argentino Pessoa, 2008. "Educational Reform in Developing Countries: Private Involvement and Partnerships," FEP Working Papers 284, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.

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