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Making Decentralization Accountable: A Framework for Analysis and Empirical Studies From South Asia and West Africa

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Agrawal, Arun; Ribot, Jesse C.
Date: 1999
Agency:
Series:
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/3720
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Africa
Subject(s): decentralization
accountability
equity
power
Abstract: "Since the early 1980s, decentralization has emerged as a valued political and economic goal in most developing countries. According to a recent World Bank study, 'out of 75 developing and transitional countries with populations greater than 5 million, all but 12 claim to be embarked on some form of transfer of political power to local units of government.' This global pursuit of decentralization, even if it appears novel, is not the first time governments have attempted the decentralization of fiscal responsibilities or institutional powers. In francophone West Africa, for example, beginning in 1917 at least four distinct waves can be discerned. In each case, decentralization accompanied and perhaps was sparked by fiscal crises of the state. In South Asia, at least three waves are visible since the mid 1800s. Clearly, the number of times governments in different geographical regions have opted to decentralize varies."

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