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Decentralization in Cambodia: Consolidating Central Power or Building Accountability from Below?


  • Paul Smoke

    (New York University)

  • Joanne Morrison

    (United Nations Capital Development Fund)


In this paper, we critically review the Cambodian decentralization process to date. The next two sections set the stage by respectively providing a brief overview of Cambodia’s economic, social, historical and political context and an outline of the basic organizational structure of government. The fourth section explores the forces driving the introduction and development of decentralization in Cambodia. The fifth and sixth sections respectively describe and evaluate the state of decentralization. The penultimate section outlines decisions that need to be made and challenges that will be faced in moving decentralization to the next level, followed by a few concluding comments. The Cambodian decentralization is recent and there is limited formal literature on the process, so much of the analysis here is based on interviews and our personal observations and experiences over more than a decade working on decentralization in Cambodia.

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  • Paul Smoke & Joanne Morrison, 2008. "Decentralization in Cambodia: Consolidating Central Power or Building Accountability from Below?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0836, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0836

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    Decentralization; Cambodia; Accountability;


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