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DECENTRALIZATION   Tags: decentralization  

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Decentralization & Education Print Page



Policy Papers & Briefs



McDermott, Kathryn A. Controlling Public Education: Localism Versus Equity. University Press of Kansas, 1999. [Book Bay]

About: Drawing upon democratic theory and the results of field research in New Haven, Connecticut, and three suburbs, McDermott contends that the educational system can be made more democratic by centralizing control over funding while decentralizing most authority over schools to the level of schools themselves while enacting public school choice controlled for racial balance.


Verger, Antoni, Mario Novelli, Hülya K. Altinyelken. Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012. [Amazon] [Education Development]

About: The book's main objective is to analyze the reasons, agents and factors behind the globalisation of educational policy and, by doing so, reflect on the structures, processes and events through which a global education policy landscape is being constitut Contributions to the book provide an in-depth theoretical and empirical understanding of educational change and education reform in an increasingly globalizing world.


Research Papers

Di Gropello, Emanuela. "Educational Decentralization Models in Latin America," CEPAL Review 68 (1999): 155-173.

Summary: This paper analyses the processes of decentralization of education in seven Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua). It seeks to systematize these experiences, using a theoretical typology of reform models; to present some results and trends in terms of the efficiency and equity of the provision of these services, and to extract some useful lessons for the design of future reforms. 

Galiani, S., P. Gertler, and E. Schargrodsky.  “School Decentralization: Helping the Good Get Better, But Leaving the Poor Behind,” Journal of Public Economics 92 (2008):2106–2120.

Summary:  In this paper, the authors analyze the average and distributional effects of school decentralization on educational quality in Argentina. They find that decentralization had an overall positive impact on student test scores. The decentralization gains, however, did not reach the poor. Thus, although "bringing decisions closer to the people" may help the good get better, the already disadvantaged may not receive these benefits.

Karlsen, Gustav E. "Decentralized-Centralism Governance in Education: Evidence from Norway and British Columbia, Canada," Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy 13 (1999).

Summary: This paper focuses on decentralization as a governance strategy in education. The author presents theoretical aspects of the phenomenon of decentralization and contextualizes them within the education research literature. He analyzes the dynamics of decentralization that normally take place when governing strategies designed to decentralize authority and power are implemented.

Rubinfeld, D., P. Shapiro and J. Roberts. “Tiebout Bias and the Demand for Local Public Schooling,” Review of Economics and Statistics 69 (1987): 426-37.

Summary: Until recently, estimates of demand functions for public goods were obtained using single equation estimation techniques. However, demand estimates may be biased when individuals' choices of communities are dependent upon the quantity and quality of public good provided. This paper spells out the nature of this bias (called Tiebout bias) and suggests an improved maximum-likelihood estimation technique.

Winkler, Donald R. and Alec I. Gershberg. "Education Decentralization in Africa: A Review of Recent Policy and Practice," World Bank, 2003.

Summary: The decentralization of government is one of the reforms gaining ground in Africa. In search of greater accountability and more efficient service delivery, several countries are creating or recreating elected local governments and transferring to them responsibilities and resources. In addition, civil society is becoming stronger, drawing on African tribal traditions.



Busemeyer, Marius R. Two Decades of Decentralization in Education Governance: Lessons Learned and Future Outlook For Local Stakeholders. (Paper presented at the 2nd thematic conference for Governing Complex Education systems, Warsaw, 2012)

Summary: Decentralization of education: A global trend!? - Commonalities and differences across countries - Historical and political context: Why decentralization? - Pros and Cons of decentralization - Teacher training and education New ways of thinking about accountability - Social inclusion, employability and social capital



Education Decentralization and Community Involvement. USA: FHI 360, 2013.

About: At the CIES Annual Conference "Educational Quality: Global Imperatives and Contested Visions," Marc Ginsburg explains a project in Malawi working on education decentralization and community involvement.


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