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Power to the People? The Impact of Decentralization on Governance

The paper analyzes the impact of decentralization on governance employing four indicators of governance and five measures of decentralization. Depending on data availability, crosssections for a maximum of 129 countries are estimated. Results for a panel of about 70 countries over the period 1984-2001 are also presented. The results show that decentralization – measured as the share of sub-national employment, revenues or, respectively, expenditures – improves governance. This is particularly true for low income countries but – depending on the indicator employed – to some extent for high income countries also. However, the number of sub-national government tiers exerts a negative impact on some dimensions of governance.

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Paper provided by KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich in its series KOF Working papers with number 06-121.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kof:wpskof:06-121
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  1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Axel Dreher, 2003. "The Influence of globalization on taxes and social policy - an empirical enalysis for OECD countries," Discussion Papers 0301, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
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  5. Barankay, Iwan & Lockwood, Ben, 2006. "Decentralization and the Productive Efficiency of Government: Evidence from Swiss Cantons," CEPR Discussion Papers 5639, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  9. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
  10. Knack, Stephen, 2000. "Aid dependence and the quality of governance : a cross-country empirical analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2396, The World Bank.
  11. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
  12. Pranab Bardhan & Dilip Mookherjee, 1998. "Expenditure Decentralization and the Delivery of Public Services in Developing Countries," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 90, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  13. Charles M. Tiebout, 1961. "An Economic Theory of Fiscal Decentralization," NBER Chapters, in: Public Finances: Needs, Sources, and Utilization, pages 79-96 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Kessing, Sebastian G. & Konrad, Kai A. & Kotsogiannis, Christos, 2009. "Federalism, weak institutions and the competition for foreign direct investment," Munich Reprints in Economics 22086, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Kotsogiannis, Christos & Schwager, Robert, 2006. "On the incentives to experiment in federations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 484-497, November.
  16. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart, 2002. "Growth without governance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2928, The World Bank.
  17. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  18. Strumpf, Koleman S, 2002. " Does Government Decentralization Increase Policy Innovation?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(2), pages 207-41.
  19. Khaleghian, Peyvand, 2003. "Decentralization and public services : the case of immunization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2989, The World Bank.
  20. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661926, June.
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