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Decentralization : the way forward for rural development?


  • Parker, Andrew N.


Special strategies are needed to address the widespread incidence of rural poverty in developing countries, but initiatives aimed at improving the rural standard of living have not consistently reduced poverty. The author examines the rationale for a specific rural focus in poverty reduction programs and reviews recent attempts to encourage rural development. He discusses the role decentralization could play in rural development programs and analyzes recent efforts to implement decentralized rural development programs. The author concludes that although decentralization initiatives have a long history, much more needs to be understood about various components of decentralization before sound advice can be given to policymakers. He suggests a conceptual model - based on a"souffle"theory of decentralization - that incorporates the essential elements of political, fiscal, and institutional decentralization as they related to rural development outcomes. Like a souffle that requires just the right combination of milk, eggs, and heat to rise, a successful program of decentralization must include just the right combination of political, fiscal, and institutional elements to improve rural development outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Parker, Andrew N., 1995. "Decentralization : the way forward for rural development?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1475, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1475

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    Cited by:

    1. Wafaa Nasser & Myriam Donsimoni, 2012. "Local governance, decentralization and local economic development," Post-Print hal-00973763, HAL.
    2. Robinson D. BoyeBandie, 2015. "The Effects of the District Assemblies Common Fund on District Assemblies Internally Generated Revenue Mobilisation in Ghana: An Analysis of the Early Years of the Fund," International Journal of Asian Social Science, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 5(9), pages 529-542, September.
    3. Pavlos Karanikolas & Sophia Hatzipanteli, 2008. "The Decentralization Process of Rural Development Policy in Greece," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 411-434, December.
    4. Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, 2008. "Emerging Dimensions Of Decentralization Debate In The Age Of Glocalization," MPRA Paper 6734, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Humplick, Frannie & Moini-Araghi, Azadeh, 1996. "Decentralized structures for providing roads : a cross-country comparison," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1658, The World Bank.
    6. World Bank, 2004. "India : Fiscal Decentralization to Rural Governments," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14674, The World Bank.


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