Decentralization: A survey from a child welfare perspective
This paper develops a framework by which the impact of decentralization of government on child welfare can be assessed. Consistent with the child welfare perspective, it is suggested that equity should be given greatest weight, in terms of both equality of opportunity and progress in reducing disparities in access. Allocative efficiency, a notion that has figured prominently in the economics literature about the merits of decentralization, is shown to have limited value once we accept the existence of externalities and public goods in the provision of basic services. The review of available evidence for Asian and transition countries suggests that there is a significant risk that equity can be adversely affected by the decentralization of education and the associated financing arrangements.
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