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DECENTRALIZATION   Tags: decentralization  

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Policy Papers & Briefs



Crook, Richard, and James Manor. Democracy and Decentralization in South Asia and West Africa: Participation, Accountability and Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. [Google Books]

About: This book is a study of whether setting up democratic local councils in four developing countries (Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Bangladesh and India) actually makes any difference to the popularity, responsiveness and effectiveness of local government and administration. The authors make an important contribution to current debates about 'good governance' and whether decentralisation can provide better services for the mass of the population--the poor and the disadvantaged in rural areas.

Dahl, R. Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971. [Wikisummaries]

About:The author seeks to determine conditions that favor or impede a transformation into a political regime in which opponents of the government can openly and legally organize into political parties in order to oppose the government in free and fair elections. The author assumes that a key characteristic of democracy is the continuing responsiveness of the government to demands from its citizens.


Research Papers

Barnette, C. Cates, Henry P. Minis and Jerry VanSant. “Democratic Decentralization,” Research Triangle Institute (1997).

Summary: "The conceptual framework for democratic decentralization presented in this paper defines two key relationships of democratic decentralization: the relationship between the central government and local government (decentralization) and the relationship between local government and citizens (democratic local governance). Five key characteristics of democratic decentralization are also identified: implementing legal reforms to devolve power; increasing local; increasing local government accountability, transparency, and responsiveness; enhancing the role of civil society and improving the quality of life." [Author]

Blair, H. “Participation and Accountability at the Periphery: Democratic Local Governance in Six Countries,” World Development 28 (2000): 21-39. [Science Direct]
Summary: Democratic local governance (DLG), now a major subtheme within the overall context of democratic development, promises that government at the local level can become more responsive to citizen desires and more effective in service delivery. Based on a six-country study sponsored by USAID (Bolivia, Honduras, India, Mali, the Philippines and Ukraine), this paper analyzes the two topics of participation and accountability, finding that both show significant potential for promoting DLG, though there seem to be important limitations on how much participation can actually deliver, and accountability covers a much wider range of activity and larger scope for DLG strategy than initially appears.


Decentralization and Popular Democracy: Governance From Below in Bolivia. England: London School of Economics and Political Science, 2012. 
About: In his presentation, Jean-Paul Faguet identifies the factors that determine the outcomes of national decentralization on the local level based on the example of Bolivia.

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