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Do more decentralized local governments do better? an evaluation of the 2001 decentralization reform in Colombia


  • Cortés, Darwin



In this paper I evaluate the impact of the 2001 decentralization reform in Colombia. I use data from Colombia's municipalities. I look at the effect of the 2001 reform on enrolment in pre-college schools. While all municipalities received earnmarked national transfers, withthe reform some of then now have more responsabilities to provide education (deeper decen-tralization) than others. Particulary important, the reform entitle the more decentralizedmunicipalities to sign subsidy contracts with private school. Departments (the regional gov-ernments) are entitle to sign this type of contracts for the less decentralized municipalities.Since the rule for municipalities to receive more responsabilities follows and exogenous popu-lation threshold, I can implement Regression Discontinuity Design. Enrolment is measuredthrough two variables: the number of students enroled in public schools and the number of subsidized students enroled in private schools. Results sugest that more decentralized mu-nicipalities subsidize more students in private schools. The difference is significant at all thelevels of pre-college school for the period 2004-2006. In 2005, the difference accounts for20% of enrolment in private schools and 3% of population of school age. Besides, there are not significant differences among municipalities regarding enrolment in public schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Cortés, Darwin, 2010. "Do more decentralized local governments do better? an evaluation of the 2001 decentralization reform in Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo 007182, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000092:007182

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    Decentralization; Education Reform; Quasi-experiments and Colombia;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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