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Applying a simple measure of good governance to the debate on fiscal decentralization

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  • Huther, Jeff
  • Shah, Anwar

Abstract

Debates about the appropriate role, policies, and institutions of the state are often hampered by the lack of a definition for good government. To provide a quantifiable measure of good government, the authors develop an index for the quality of governance for a sample of 80 countries. They apply the index to the debate on the appropriate level of fiscal decentralization. In measuring the quality of governance, the authors develop indices for the government's ability to: a) Ensure political transparency and a voice for all citizens (the citizen participation index measures political freedom and political stability). b) Provide effective public services efficiently (the government orientation index measures judicial and bureaucratic efficiency and the absence of corruption). c) Promote the health and well-being of its citizens (the social development index measures human development and equitable distribution of income). d) Create a favorable climate for stable economic growth (the economic management index measures outward orientation, independence of the central bank, and an inverted debt-to-GDP ratio). In relating the index of governance quality to degree of fiscal decentralization for the 80 countries, the authors are not surprised to find a positive relationship between fiscal decentralization and quality of governance. But the strength of the correlation is surprising.

Suggested Citation

  • Huther, Jeff & Shah, Anwar, 1998. "Applying a simple measure of good governance to the debate on fiscal decentralization," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1894, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1894
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge & McNab, Robert M., 2003. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(9), pages 1597-1616, September.
    2. Fan, C. Simon & Lin, Chen & Treisman, Daniel, 2009. "Political decentralization and corruption: Evidence from around the world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 14-34, February.
    3. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
    4. Lessmann, Christian & Markwardt, Gunther, 2010. "One Size Fits All? Decentralization, Corruption, and the Monitoring of Bureaucrats," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 631-646, April.
    5. Faguet, Jean-Paul & Ali, Zulfiqar, 2009. "Making Reform Work: Institutions, Dispositions, and the Improving Health of Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 208-218, January.
    6. Barankay, Iwan & Lockwood, Ben, 2007. "Decentralization and the productive efficiency of government: Evidence from Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 1197-1218, June.
    7. G. Gulsun Arikan, 2004. "Fiscal Decentralization: A Remedy for Corruption?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(2), pages 175-195, March.
    8. Iimi, Atsushi, 2005. "Decentralization and economic growth revisited: an empirical note," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 449-461, May.
    9. Betancourt, Roger & Gleason, Suzanne, 2000. "The Allocation of Publicly-Provided Goods to Rural Households in India: On Some Consequences of Caste, Religion and Democracy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2169-2182, December.
    10. Eggert, Wolfgang & Sørensen, Peter Birch, 2008. "The effects of tax competition when politicians create rents to buy political support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1142-1163, June.
    11. Chowdhury, Shyamnal & Yamauchi, Futoshi & Dewina, Reno, 2009. "Governance decentralization and local infrastructure provision in Indonesia:," IFPRI discussion papers 902, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Woods, Ngaire, 2000. "The Challenge of Good Governance for the IMF and the World Bank Themselves," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 823-841, May.
    13. Duret, Elsa & Ventelou, Bruno, 2004. "Regionalization, public spending and growth: a stylized model dealing with 'predatory states'," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1039-1050, December.
    14. Alexeev, Michael & Mamedov, Arseny & Fomina, Evgenia & Deryugin, Alexander, 2017. "Influence of the Main Characteristics of Interbudgetary Relations on the Indicators of Economic Development of the Subjects of the Russian Federation," Working Papers 031717, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

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