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Decentralization and Access to Social Services in Colombia

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  • Jean-Paul Faguet

    ()

  • Fabio Sánchez

    ()

Abstract

A central claim in favor of decentralization is that it will improve access to public services, but few studies examine this question empirically. This paper explores the effects of decentralization on access to health and education in Colombia. We benefit from an original database that includes over 95% of Colombian municipalities. Our results show that decentralization improved enrollment rates in public schools and access of the poor to public health services. In both sectors, improving access was driven by the financial contributions of local governments. Our theoretical findings imply that local governments with better information about local preferences will concentrate their resources in the areas their voters care about most. The combination of empirical and theoretical results implies that decentralization provides local officials with the information and incentives they need to allocate resources in a manner responsive to voters´ needs, and improve the quality of expenditures so as to maximize their impact. The end result is greater usage of local services by citizens.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Paul Faguet & Fabio Sánchez, 2009. "Decentralization and Access to Social Services in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 005401, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:005401
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    File URL: http://economia.uniandes.edu.co/publicaciones/dcede2009-06.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ignacio Lozano-Espitia & Juan Manuel Julio-Román, 2015. "Descentralización Fiscal y Crecimiento Económico: Evidencia Regional en Panel de Datos para Colombia," Borradores de Economia 865, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    2. Jaimes, Richard, 2016. "Estimating Fiscal Adjustments at the Local Level in Colombia," MPRA Paper 75507, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Khan, Qaiser & Faguet, Jean-Paul & Ambel, Alemayehu, 2017. "Blending Top-Down Federalism with Bottom-Up Engagement to Reduce Inequality in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 326-342.
    4. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1258-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:bla:jecsur:v:31:y:2017:i:4:p:1095-1129 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Santiago Lago-Peñas & Agnese Sacchi, 2017. "The Impact Of Fiscal Decentralization: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(4), pages 1095-1129, September.
    7. Luis Ignacio Lozano-Espitia & Juan Manuel Julio-Román, 2015. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth: Evidence from Regional-Level Panel Data for Colombia," Borradores de Economia 865i, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    8. Lozano, Ignacio & Julio, Juan Manuel, 2016. "Fiscal decentralization and economic growth in Colombia: evidence from regional-level panel data," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    9. Tania Barham & Karen Macours & John A. Maluccio, 2013. "Boys' Cognitive Skill Formation and Physical Growth: Long-Term Experimental Evidence on Critical Ages for Early Childhood Interventions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 467-471.
    10. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10797-017-9461-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Fabio Sánchez Torres & Mónica Pachón, 2013. "Decentralization, Fiscal Effort and Social Progress in Colombia at the Municipal Level, 1994-2009: Why Does National Politics Matter?," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 81418, Inter-American Development Bank.
    12. Zelda Brutti, 2016. "Cities drifting apart: Heterogeneous outcomes of decentralizing public education," Working Papers 2016/26, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    13. Andrea Franco & Arlen Guarín & Carlos Medina & Christian M. Posso, 2017. "Políticas de País y Logros de Regiones: el Caso de la Calidad de la Educación Secundaria en Colombia," Borradores de Economia 981, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    decentralization; education; health; public investment; Colombia; localgovernment.;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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