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Decentralization and Governance: Does Decentralization Improve Public Service Delivery?


A Lanyi and S Kahkonen  (2001)
4 pages (124KB)

It has been argued that decentralisation improves governance and public service delivery by increasing both allocation efficiency - through better matching of public services to local preferences - and productive efficiency - through increased accountability of local governments to citizens, fewer levels of bureaucracy and better knowledge of local costs. But decentralisation has had mixed effects on public service delivery.

This PREM Note, produced for The World Bank, argues that decentralisation holds promise for improving the delivery of public services but that outcomes depend on its design and on the institutional arrangements governing its implementation. It examines the partial decentralisation of public services in both the Philippines and Uganda and asks whether decentralisation promotes efficient services and what impedes efficiency. Policy implications are then considered, and a section on further reading is included at the end of the Note. It concludes that decentralisation holds a lot of promise, but whether it improves public service delivery depends on the institutional arrangements governing its implementation.

Source: Kahkonen, S. and Lanyi, A., 2001, ‘Decentralization and Governance: Does Decentralization Improve Public Service Delivery?’ PREM Notes Number 55, June 2001, World Bank, Washington D.C.

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