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More than you can handle : decentralization and spending ability of Peruvian municipalities

  • Loayza, Norman V.
  • Rigolini, Jamele
  • Calvo-Gonzalez, Oscar

In the past three decades, emerging countries have gone through extensive decentralization reforms. Yet, there are no studies assessing quantitatively the relative importance of various factors known to affect the success of decentralization. This paper builds on a comprehensive dataset the authors constructed for Peru, which merges municipal fiscal accounts with information about municipalities'characteristics such as population, poverty, education, and local politics. The paper then analyzes the leading factors affecting the ability of municipalities to execute the allocated budget using complementary methodologies, from least squares to quantile regression analyses. According to the existing literature and the Peruvian context, the analysis divides these factors into four categories: the budget size and allocation process; local capacity; local needs; and political economy constraints. Although all four factors affect decentralization, the largest determinant of spending ability is the adequacy of the budget with respect to local capacity. The results confirm the need for decentralization to be implemented gradually over time in parallel with strong capacity building efforts.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5763.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5763
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  1. Susan Steiner, 2008. "How important is the Capacity of Local Governments for Improvements in Welfare? Evidence from Decentralised Uganda," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 4308, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  2. Caselli, Francesco & Michaels, Guy, 2009. "Do Oil Windfalls Improve Living Standards? Evidence from Brazil," CEPR Discussion Papers 7579, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Roy Bahl & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2013. "Sequencing Fiscal Decentralization," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(2), pages 641-687, November.
  4. Edward Glaeser & Giacomo Ponzetto & Andrei Shleifer, 2006. "Why Does Democracy Need Education?," NBER Working Papers 12128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. DE BORGER, Bruno & KERSTENS, Kristiaan, 1994. "Cost efficiency of Belgian local governments: A comparative analysis of FDH, DEA and econometric approaches," SESO Working Papers 1994002, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics.
  7. Araujo, M. Caridad & Ferreira, Francisco H.G. & Lanjouw, Peter & Özler, Berk, 2008. "Local inequality and project choice: Theory and evidence from Ecuador," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1022-1046, June.
  8. Smoke, Paul & Lewis, Blane D., 1996. "Fiscal decentralization in Indonesia: A new approach to an old idea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(8), pages 1281-1299, August.
  9. Emili Tortosa Ausina & Diego Prior & María Teresa Balaguer-Coll, 2004. "On The Determinants Of Local Government Performance: A Two-Stage Nonparametric Approach," Working Papers. Serie EC 2004-04, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
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