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Decentralization Task Force Meeting, New York City 2001

October 29, 2001

Columbia University   New York City, New York, United States

The Initiative for Policy Dialogue's  Decentralization Task Force, chaired by Tim Besley and Mariano Tommasi, held its first meeting on October 29, 2001 at Columbia University.

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Partners

Task force members discussed issues of accountability and relationships between central and local governments, as well as the experiences of India, China and Latin America. Papers by members facilitated the discussion. Discussion was facilitated by members' papers dealing with, amongst other topics, the role of civil society in local government and empirical evidence on the impact of decentralization and elite capture and lobbying

  • Pranab K. Bardhan
    Task Force Member
    Professor of Economics
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Tim Besley
    Task Force Chair
    Kuwait Professor of Economics and Political Science
    London School of Economics
  • Robin Burgess
    Task Force Member
    Professor, Economics Department
    London School of Economics
  • Jean-Paul Faguet
    Task Force Member
    Professor
    London School of Economics
  • Justin Y. Lin
    Task Force Member
    Former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Economics
    The World Bank
  • Kathleen O'Neill
    Task Force Member
    Associate
    Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
  • Rohini Pande
    Task Force Member
    Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy
    Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
  • Yingyi Qian
    Task Force Member
    Professor of Economics
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Mariano Tommasi
    Task Force Chair
    Professor, Department of Economics
    Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina
  • Barry R. Weingast
    Task Force Member
    Professor, Department of Political Science
    Stanford University
Notes on Decentralization

92kb pdf
Pranab K. Bardhan

These notes cover some of the debate on decentralization's implications for corruption and especially the potential for capture of local administrations by elites.

Notes on Different Forms of Decentralization

100kb pdf
Tim Besley

These notes on decentralization lay out some of the basic issues and develops a simple map which puts the experiences and proposals of particular countries into a common conceptual framework.

Notes on Empirical Evidence of the Impact of Decentralization

112kb pdf
Robin Burgess

These notes examine the economic and institutional arguments for decentralization as a means of identifying the conditions under which decentralization may or may not be successful. Burgess then offers some thoughts on how empirical evaluation of decentralization episodes can be improved and refined.

The Role of Civil Society in the Local Government Process

129kb pdf
Jean-Paul Faguet

This paper describes a simple, two-stage model of local government which deals with multi-dimensional policy space in a straightforward way. It also identifies the incorporation of civil society into the local governance process as one of the keys to effective government.

Some Notes on Decentralization and Service Delivery

123kb pdf
Francisco H.G. Ferreira

This note focuses on key trade-offs which help determine the extent to which decisions about the provision and delivery of services are or ought to be more or less centralized.

Fiscal Decentralization in China

93kb pdf
Justin Y. Lin

This paper explores how fiscal decentralization was an important aspect of China's multi-faceted reform.

Decentralization: The Latin American Experience

193kb pdf
Kathleen O'Neill

This paper adds empirical results from Latin America's policy experiments to the current debates and sketches a few preliminary conclusions regarding both fiscal federalism and democratic practice.

Overview of Decentralization in India

96kb pdf
Rohini Pande

This paper covers the two main aspects of political decentralization in India namely: (i) local accountability via village level elected institutions, and (ii) representation for women and other disadvantaged groups.

Micro Incentives and Macro Stability

103kb pdf
Yingyi Qian

This essay argues that appropriate assessment of the role of decentralization in China requires careful analysis. It shows a complexity of the relationship between micro incentives for local business development and macro stability for the whole economy.

A Synoptic Guide to Decentralization

255kb pdf

Decentralization has become one of the hot topics of our time. It is squarely in the forefront of the development debate throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia. And under the guises of subsidiarity, devolution and federalism it is also at the center of public policy-making in Europe and North America. And yet despite real experiments in decentralization under way in scores of countries, and literally hundreds of empirical studies, the economic and political effects of decentralization are still unclear.IPD's overview chapter on decentralization examines all angles of this debate in an accessible and policy-relevant manner.

Notes on Fiscal Federalism

115kb pdf
Mariano Tommasi

These notes focus on the revenue side of fiscal federalism (tax assignments), intergovernmental transfers, and intergovernmental relations more generally.

A Political Approach to the Assignment of Powers in a Federal System

98kb pdf
Barry R. Weingast

In order understand the comparative theory of federal performance, Barry Weingast develops a set of conditions that help differentiate among federal systems.These conditions serve a second purpose: the theory of fiscal federalism provides a set of systematic insights into the performance of federal systems. What follows can also be thought of as an attempt to make explicit some of the political assumptions underlying this theory.