Decentralization and Development. Fiscal federalism in theory and practice

Seminar Paper, 2019

8 Pages

Abstract or Introduction

This seminar paper deals with a critical discussion of the economic insight from chapter 8: Decentralization and development of the Handbook on Fiscal Federalism. Decentralization is generally defined as the transfer of certain administrative and fiscal functions or powers of a central authority to several local authorities. The main advantage of local decentralization is that local governments are more efficient at providing certain public services compared to the higher levels of government Oates (1972).

The chapter focuses on the type of decentralization in developing and transition economies, on the transfer of political decision-making power to subnational levels of government and cases where local community organizations formally participate in the implementation of funded and centrally directed projects. It’s important to mention that the chapter distinguishes decentralization in the sense of decentralization of political decision-making power from administrative delegation of functions of the central government to the local one. However, the effects of a policy of decentralization may differ sustainably. Like the common case when the central government delegates responsibility for social sector expenditure to local authorities in the form of unfunded mandates, which results in a closure of the social programmes.

Decentralization can be used to serve the political power of the central government to dispel some authority, when the central control might be threatened by regional interest. During the apartheid regime in South Africa, decentralization was used as an instrument of central control and racial division. But on the other hand, it also has positive effects where decentralization is the result of the recent transition from authoritarianism to democracy, as in countries such as Brazil or Indonesia.


Decentralization and Development. Fiscal federalism in theory and practice
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
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ISBN (eBook)
decentralization, development, fiscal
Quote paper
Samuel Mäurer (Author), 2019, Decentralization and Development. Fiscal federalism in theory and practice, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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