Shah, Anwar

Global Practice for Governance, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
governance; public sector reform; budgetary accountability;
Global Practice for Governance, The World Bank
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Last updated: January 31, 2023

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
  • Publication
    Autonomy with Equity and Accountability : Toward a More Transparent, Objective, Predictable and Simpler (TOPS) System of Central Financing of Provincial-Local Expenditures in Indonesia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-03) Shah, Anwar
    During the past decade, Indonesia has transformed itself from centralized governance to decentralized local governance. Local governments were given extensive expenditure responsibilities while keeping the tax system centralized. To finance decentralized provincial-local expenditures, Indonesia implemented a new system of intergovernmental finance. This paper provides a review of the equity and efficiency implications of the current system of central-provincial-local transfers. It finds that the system of intergovernmental finance represents one of the most complex systems ever implemented by any government in the world. The system is primarily focused on a gap-filling approach to provincial-local finance to ensure revenue adequacy and local autonomy but without accountability to local residents for service delivery performance. This is done through a great degree of academic rigor using highly complex procedures. The complexity leads to a lack of transparency, inequity and uncertainty in allocation as well as creating incentives for jurisdictional fragmentation and reducing own-tax effort. Simpler alternatives are available that have the potential to address equity objectives while also enhancing efficiency and citizen-based accountability. Such alternatives would represent a move away from complex gap filling and special allocation approaches to simple, output based transfers to finance operating expenditures. These would be complemented by capital grants to deal with infrastructure deficiencies, and fiscal capacity equalization as a residual program with an explicit standard to ensure that all local jurisdictions have adequate means to deliver reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of tax burdens across the country. The paper argues that such an alternative system of intergoveernmental finance would preserve autonomy, while enhancing equity, simplicity, objectivity, transparency and accountability.
  • Publication
    Performance Accountability and Combating Corruption
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2007) Shah, Anwar
    his volume provides advice on how to institutionalize performance-based accountability, especially in countries that lack good accountability systems. The volume describes how institutions of accountability may be strengthened to combat corruption. The volume is organized into two parts. The first part deals with public management reforms to ensure the integrity and improve the efficiency of government operations. It outlines an agenda for public management reforms and discusses the roles of e-government and network solutions in performance improvements. The second part of the volume provides advice on strengthening the role of representative institutions, such as organs and committees of parliament, in providing oversight of government programs. It also provides guidance on how auditing and related institutions can be used to detect fraud and corruption. The book highlights the causes of corruption and the use of both internal and external accountability institutions and mechanisms to fight it. It provides advice on how to tailor anticorruption programs to individual country circumstances and how to sequence reform efforts to ensure sustainability. This volume presents the latest thinking of leading development scholars on operationalizing such a governance framework. The focus of this volume is creating performance-based accountability and oversight when there is no bottom line. Each chapter addresses an important dimension of such a framework. The four chapters in part I are concerned with integrity and efficiency in public management. The nine chapters of part II are concerned with institutions and mechanisms to hold government to account.
  • Publication
    Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers : Principles and Practice
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2007) Boadway, Robin; Shah, Anwar
    The design of intergovernmental fiscal transfers has a strong bearing on efficiency and equity of public service provision and accountable local governance. This book provides a comprehensive one-stop window/source of materials to guide practitioners and scholars on design and worldwide practices in intergovernmental fiscal transfers and their implications for efficiency, and equity in public services provision as well as accountable governance.
  • Publication
    Implementing Decentralized Local Governance: A Treacherous Road with Potholes, Detours, and Road Closures
    (World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004-06) Shah, Anwar
    During the past two decades, a silent revolution in public sector governance has swept across the globe aiming to move decision making for local public services closer to the people. The countries embracing and adapting to this silent revolution have had diverse motives and followed even more diverse approaches. This paper attempts to present a stylized view of the motivations and approaches used to strengthen local governance. The quest for the right balance, i.e. appropriate division of powers among different levels of government, is not always the primary reason for decentralizing. There is evidence that the decentralization decision may have more to do with short-term political considerations than the long-run benefits of decentralization. To take stock of progress worldwide, we take a comparative look at developments in political, fiscal and administrative decentralization for a selected group of countries. Most of the decentralization literature deals with normative issues regarding the assignment of responsibilities among different levels of government and the design of fiscal transfers. The process of decentralization has not received the attention it deserves as the best laid plans can fail due to implementation difficulties. We revisit major controversies regarding preferred approaches to obtaining a successful outcome. Key approaches examined are big push versus small steps; bottom up vs. top down; and uniform vs. asymmetric decentralization. Finally, Indonesia's 1999 big bang decentralization program is evaluated. The program should be commended for its achievements over a short period of time, however incentives are lacking for local governments to be accountable and responsive to their residents.
  • Publication
    Demanding to be Served : Holding Governments to Account for Improved Access
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-06) Shah, Anwar
    This paper presents an overview of the constitutional-legal provisions on access to services in developing countries and shows that rights to public services are not justice-able. It further documents the performance record to show that governments' response to such a weak accountability framework has been predictable - poor performance in service delivery with little accountability. The paper also shows that while there has not been a shortage of ideas on how to deal with this problem, most approaches have failed because they could not diagnose and deal with the underlying causes of government dysfunction. The paper presents an analytical perspective on understanding the causes of dysfunctional governance and the incentives and accountability regimes that have the potential to overcome this dysfunction. The paper also documents practices that have shown some promise in improving access. The paper then integrates ideas from successful practices with conceptual underpinnings for good governance and presents a citizen-centric (rights based) governance approach to access. It further explores how such a citizen empowerment and government accountability framework can be implemented in practice, especially in the context of developing countries, where most governments still operate in a command and control environment with little or no orientation to serve their people. It also presents ideas on how to overcome resistance to such reforms.
  • Publication
    Budgeting and Budgetary Institutions
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2007) Shah, Anwar
    Budgetary institutions have historically played a critical role in a gradual movement toward responsive, responsible, and accountable public governance in industrial countries. This paper includes the following headings: overview; a primer on budgeting and budgetary institutions; the budget and its coverage; capital budgets -- theory and practice; budget methods and practices; a primer on performance budgeting; accrual accounting in the public sector -- lessons for developing countries; activity-based cost management in the public sector; budget preparation and approval; budget execution; automating public financial management in developing countries; what would an ideal public finance management system look like; strengthening public expenditure management Africa -- criteria, priorities, and sequencing; budgeting in post-conflict countries; country case study -- Kenya; and country case study -- South Africa.
  • Publication
    How Close Is Your Government to Its People? Worldwide Indicators on Localization and Decentralization
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-07) Ivanyna, Maksym; Shah, Anwar
    This paper is intended to provide an assessment of the impact of the silent revolution of the last three decades on moving governments closer to people to establish fair, accountable, incorruptible and responsive governance. To accomplish this, a unique data set is constructed for 182 countries by compiling data from a wide variety of sources to examine success toward decentralized decision making across the globe. An important feature of this data set is that, for comparative purposes, it measures government decision making at the local level rather than at the sub-national levels used in the existing literature. The data are used to rank countries on political, fiscal and administrative dimensions of decentralization and localization. These sub-indexes are aggregated and adjusted for heterogeneity to develop an overall ranking of countries on the closeness of their government to the people. The resulting rankings provide a useful explanation of the Arab Spring and other recent political movements and waves of dissatisfaction with governance around the world.
  • Publication
    Participatory Budgeting
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2007) Shah, Anwar
    This book provides an overview of the principles underlying participatory budgeting. It analyzes the merits and demerits of participatory budgeting practices around the world with a view to guiding policy makers and practitioners on improving such practices in the interest of inclusive governance. This publication includes five regional surveys, and seven country case studies can be found on the accompanying CD ROM. The study explains that participatory budgeting has been advanced by budget practitioners and academics as an important tool for inclusive and accountable governance and has been implemented in various forms in many developing countries around the globe. It adds that through participatory budgeting, citizens have the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of government operations, influence government policies, and hold government to account. However, participatory processes also run the risk of capture by interest groups. Captured processes may continue to promote elitism in government decision making. This book examines the potential and perils of participatory budgeting, as observed from practices around the globe. It is divided into three parts. Part I presents the nuts and bolts of participatory budgeting. Part II surveys experiences with participatory budgeting in various regions of the world. Part III (Vol. 2) is on the CD ROM accompanying this book, and it examines case studies of practices in seven countries.
  • Publication
    Macro Federalism and Local Finance
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Shah, Anwar
    The book is divided into two parts. The first part macro federalism provides a fresh look at emerging constitutional challenges arising from globalization and the information revolution, as well as the dynamic-efficiency and growth implications of existing federal constitutions. Several aspects of these systems are examined: (a) institutional design to achieve internal economic union; (b) policies for regional development; (c) conduct of monetary policy; (d) coordination of fiscal policies, with a special emphasis on tax harmonization; and (e) management of risks of insolvency from sub-national borrowing. The second part of the book local finance provides a comparative perspective on local finances and measures the progress of decentralized governance reforms in developing countries.
  • Publication
    Anti-Corruption Policies and Programs : A Framework for Evaluation
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-12) Huther, Jeff; Shah, Anwar
    The anti-corruption strategy the World Bank announced in September 1997 defined corruption as the "use of public office for private gain" and called for the Bank to address corruption along four dimensions: 1) Preventing fraud and corruption in Bank projects; 2) Helping countries that request Bank assistance for fighting corruption; 3) Mainstreaming a concern about corruption in Bank work; and 4) Lending active support to international efforts to address corruption. The menu of possible actions to contain corruption (in both countries and Bank projects) is very large, so the authors develop a framework to help assign priorities, depending on views of what does and does not work in specific countries. Their framework, based on public officials' incentives for opportunistic behavior, distinguishes between highly corrupt and largely corruption-free societies. Certain conditions encourage public officials to seek or accept corruption: a) The expected gains from undertaking a corrupt act exceed the expected costs. b) Little weight is placed on the cost that corruption imposes on others. In a country with heavy corruption and poor governance, the priorities in anti-corruption efforts would then be to establish rule of law, strengthen institutions of participation and accountability, and limit government interventions to focus on core mandates. In a country with moderate corruption and fair governance, the priorities would be decentralization and economic reform, results-oriented management and evaluation, and the introduction of incentives for competitive delivery of public services. In a country with little corruption and strong governance, the priorities might be explicit anti-corruption agencies and programs, stronger financial management, increased public and government awareness, no-bribery pledges, efforts to fry the "big fish," and so on.