PREM Notes

176 items available

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This note series is intended to summarize good practices and key policy findings on poverty reduction and economic management (PREM) topics.

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  • Publication
    Decentralization and Governance : Does Decentralization Improve Public Service Delivery?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-06) Kahkonen, Satu; Lanyi, Anthony
    Decentralization holds a lot of promise, but whether it improves public service delivery depends on the institutional arrangements governing its implementation. Several conditions must be met before the full benefits of decentralization can be reaped. First, for decentralization to increase allocative and productive efficiency, local governments need to have the authority to respond to local demand as well as adequate mechanisms for accountability. Because granting authority without accountability can lead to corruption and lower productive efficiency, decentralization needs to be accompanied by reforms that increase the transparency and accountability of local government. Second, functions need to be devolved to a low enough level of government for allocative efficiency to increase as a result of decentralization. Low-level governments are likely to be aware of local preferences and, if able to do so, are likely to adjust service delivery accordingly. Third, citizens should have channels to communicate their preferences and get their voices heard in local governments. But the existence of such channels is not enough. To effectively influence public policies and oversee local governments, citizens need to have information about government policies and activities. The media play a crucial role in this area.
  • Publication
    Promoting Good Governance with Social Funds and Decentralization
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2001-01) Parker, Andrew
    Bad governance undermines development. Two important types of World Bank support for local governance are social funds and broadly based support for governments committed to decentralizing responsibility and power to local governments and other local institutions. But there are concerns that these two approaches, which address different elements of governance, sometimes work at cross-purposes. A study was therefore commissioned to examine the interaction between social funds and decentralization in Bolivia and Honduras (advanced decentralization), Peru and Zimbabwe (some decentralization), and Cambodia, Malawi, and Zambia (little or no decentralization). This Note is based on the findings of the study.