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Decentralization : the way forward for rural development?

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  • Parker, Andrew N.
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    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.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1475.

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    Date of creation: 30 Jun 1995
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1475
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