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Does Decentralization Facilitate Access to Poverty-Related Services? Evidence from Benin

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  • Emilie Caldeira
  • Martial Foucault
  • Grégoire Rota-Graziosi

Abstract

We study the effect of decentralization on the access to some poverty-related public services in Benin. Compiling panel data from local governments' accounts and from surveys on 18,000 Beninese households performed in 2006 and 2007, our study suggests that decentralization has a positive overall effect on access to basic services. However, this effect appears to be nonmonotone following an inverted U-shaped curve. It varies according to local jurisdictions' wealth and to the nature of basic services. Decentralization in Benin contributes positively to the reduction of poverty by improving the average access to poverty-related services. However, the devil is in the details, as decentralization seems to increase inequality among local governments in terms of access. Another result relying on the success of decentralization in Benin is the prioritization of basic services, which differs among local governments according to their wealth. While the poorest jurisdictions neglect primary education, focusing more on access to drinking water, the richest ones get less attention to sewage services, since these are already provided at a sufficiently high level.

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  • Emilie Caldeira & Martial Foucault & Grégoire Rota-Graziosi, 2012. "Does Decentralization Facilitate Access to Poverty-Related Services? Evidence from Benin," NBER Working Papers 18118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18118
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    Cited by:

    1. Grégoire ROTA-GRAZIOSI & Emilie CALDEIRA, 2014. "La décentralisation dans les pays en développement : une revue de la littérature - Decentralization in developing countries: A literature review," Working Papers 201411, CERDI.
    2. Emilie Caldeira & Martial Foucault & Gregoire Rota-Graziosi, 2015. "Decentralization in Africa and the nature of local governments’ competition: evidence from Benin," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(6), pages 1048-1076, December.
    3. Joanis, Marcelin, 2014. "Shared accountability and partial decentralization in local public good provision," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 28-37.
    4. Ignacio Lozano & María Adelaida Martínez, 2013. "Enrollment and Quality Levels of Colombia's Public Basic Education: Has Fiscal Decentralization Improved Them?," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 010387, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    5. repec:bla:kyklos:v:70:y:2017:i:2:p:189-219 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. International Monetary Fund, 2015. "Mali; Technical Assistance Report - Local Taxation and Decentralization," IMF Staff Country Reports 15/291, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Pierre Mandon & Clément Mathonnat, 2015. "Forms of Democracies and Financial Development," Working Papers halshs-01196108, HAL.
    8. Pierre Mandon & Clément Mathonnat, 2014. "Forms of Democracies and Financial Development," Working Papers halshs-01084679, HAL.
    9. Cavalieri, Marina & Ferrante, Livio, 2016. "Does fiscal decentralization improve health outcomes? Evidence from infant mortality in Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 74-88.
    10. Pierre MANDON & Clément MATHONNAT, 2015. "Forms of Democracies and Financial Development," Working Papers 201523, CERDI.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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