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Decentralization in Bangladesh: Change Has Been Elusive


  • William F. Fox

    (The University of Tennessee)

  • Balakrishna Menon

    (The World Bank)


In spite of their long history and constitutional status, local governments in Bangladesh have a poor record of being an efficient, accountable and responsive provider of public services at local level. Over the decades, the local government system in Bangladesh has been “more an area of policy experimentation than one of stable institutional development” (Rahman and Islam 2002: 154). Decentralization reforms are debated every few years under governments of all hues, various committees are launched, recommendations are made, and even piecemeal actions are taken. Yet, to date, an accountable and capable local state that upholds public interests at the local level remains elusive to Bangladesh. This paper analyses the factors encumbering the development of such a local state. It draws both political economy narrative and fiscal data to identify the challenges.

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  • William F. Fox & Balakrishna Menon, 2008. "Decentralization in Bangladesh: Change Has Been Elusive," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0829, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0829

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ehtisham Ahmad & Bob Searle, 2006. "On the Implementation of Transfers to Subnational Governments," Chapters, in: Ehtisham Ahmad & Giorgio Brosio (ed.), Handbook of Fiscal Federalism, chapter 15, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Bird, Richard M. & Smart, Michael, 2002. "Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers: International Lessons for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 899-912, June.
    3. Maria A Albino & Raju J Singh & Ehtisham Ahmad, 2005. "Subnational Public Financial Management; Institutions and Macroeconomic Considerations," IMF Working Papers 2005/108, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. United Cities and Local Governments, 2011. "Local Government Finance," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14696.

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