Global Practice on Governance, The World Bank
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Fields of Specialization
Decentralization, Local government finance, Local economic development, Municipal finance, Fiscal federalism, Public finance
Global Practice on Governance, The World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Dr. Serdar Yilmaz is a local economic development specialist with expertise in public finance, regional development and local government finance with extensive experience in developing and transition countries around the world. Working in the various departments of the World Bank, Dr. Yilmaz has contributed to policy reforms in over fifteen developing and transition countries around the world, including Bosnia, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ethiopia, Republic of Georgia, Ghana, Iran, Jordan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tanzania, Turkey and Yemen. Dr. Yilmaz has authored and contributed to numerous books, book chapters, articles, and reports on intergovernmental finance (fiscal decentralization), public expenditure management, and poverty reduction. In addition to his academic research and expertise in the management and provision of technical assistance, Dr. Yilmaz has considerable experience in the development and delivery of academic courses and professional training programs in the areas of economic development, municipal finance and fiscal federalism.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
Decentralization or Fiscal Autonomy? What Does Really Matter? Effects on Growth and Public Sector Size in European Transition Countries(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2004-03) Meloche, Jean-Philippe ; Vaillancourt, Francois ; Yilmaz, SerdarThis paper examines the importance of fiscal autonomy in the analysis of decentralization. Using new data published by the OECD (2001 and 2002), it reproduces several indicators and proposes new measures of decentralization that take into consideration su-bnational governments' autonomy over their revenues. Two models are reproduced: Davoodi and Zou (1998) on decentralization and economic growth, and Oates (1985), on decentralization and public sector size. Some evidence suggests that fiscal autonomy positively affects economic growth. Also, it seems to affect the size of the state, but evidence on this relation is limited. Despite some statistical weaknesses, there are sufficient indications to argue that sub-national governments' fiscal autonomy should be a major concern when measuring decentralization.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2002-03) Ebel, Robert D. ; Yilmaz, SerdarThe typical post-Bretton Woods era development approach that emphasized central government-led development efforts has changed dramatically, and local governments have clearly emerged as players in development policy. The thinking about what is important to achieve in development objectives is changing as fiscal decentralization reforms are being pursued by many countries around the world. In this context, a number of studies have attempted to quantify the impact of decentralization by relating some measure of it to economic outcomes of fiscal stability, economic growth, and public sector size. But decentralization is surprisingly difficult to measure. Nearly all cases examining the relationship between decentralization and macroeconomic performance have relied on the Government Finance Statistics (GFS) of the International Monetary Fund. However, despite its merits, GFS falls short in providing a full picture of fiscal decentralization. For some countries, however, there is data that more accurately captures fiscal responsibilities among different types of governments.
Subnational Data Requirements for Fiscal Decentralization : Case Studies from Central Eastern Europe(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003) Yilmaz, Serdar ; Hegedus, Jozsef ; Bell, Michael E. ; Yilmaz, Serdar ; Hegedus, Jozsef ; Bell, Michael E.Poverty is an outcome of interaction between economic, social, and political forces. The World Bank has emphasized poverty reduction in its programs and operational activities. With the launching of initiatives such as the poverty reduction strategy papers and the Comprehensive Development Framework, it has made considerable progress in integrating antipoverty programs into other lending operations. As mentioned in the World Development Report 2000/2001, Attacking Poverty (World Bank 2001b), poverty has many dimensions. It is not defined only by income, but also has political and sectoral (access to services) dimensions. Today, in most countries subnational governments are responsible for the delivery of services that affect these dimensions of poverty. Because subnational governments control increasingly higher shares of total public resources, their competence in designing public policies and delivering public services becomes crucial in influencing the level of poverty. Indeed, the literature on fiscal decentralization presents evidence that local services, especially health and education, are highly correlated with the incidence of poverty (Bird and Rodriguez 1999). In this context, the need for subnational demographic, social, economic, and fiscal data is becoming more evident at a time when subnational governments are involved in national and global objectives of poverty reduction. Statistical capacity building at the subnational level aims to help statistical offices and subnational governments produce the basic microdata necessary not only for monitoring progress in poverty reduction, but also for ex ante policy formulation by subnational governments.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-09) Tosun, Mehmet Serkan ; Yilmaz, SerdarThere have been important developments in the decentralization of the government structure in Turkey since the early 1980s. This paper examines economic development and growth in Turkish provinces. Although there is a rich literature on the economic effects of government decentralization from both developed and developing countries, these effects have not been examined widely in the context of Turkish local governments. The authors first describe changes since the early 1980s and recent reform efforts. They then provide an empirical analysis of the effects of decentralization in Turkish provinces using cross-sectional and panel data approaches. The panel dataset consists of 67 provinces from 1976 to 2001. The analysis examines whether variations in local decentralization across these provinces and across time have had a significant impact on economic development and growth in those provinces. The findings suggest a weak negative economic effect of decentralization through a number of municipalities per capita. However, the findings do not show any significant impact from the creation of new provinces by separation from the existing ones.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-02) Yilmaz, Serdar ; Aslam, Ghazia ; Gurkan, AsliFiscal decentralization provides the link between incentives for better performance of the local government and the elected support from the citizens and is, therefore, essential for an effective system of decentralization. The purpose of this note is to elucidate components of a well-designed fiscal decentralized system and is aimed to assist task teams and stakeholders to evaluate fiscal decentralization effort in any given country. There are two main components of fiscal decentralization system: a) discretion of the local government to make decision on fiscal matters (including revenue assignment for local goods, revenue generation, transfer of funds through a well-designed transfer system, and utilization of funds); and b) accountability including mechanisms that hold local government officials to other elected and non-elected officials and social accountability that allows direct monitoring of the local government officials by the citizens.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-02) Gurkan, Asli ; Yilmaz, Serdar ; Aslam, GhaziaPolitical decentralization is the primary mechanism through which citizen preferences are represented in the decision making, and is therefore essential to an effective system of decentralization. The purpose of this note is to elucidate components of a well-designed political decentralization system and is aimed to assist task teams and stakeholders to evaluate political decentralization effort in any given country. There are two main components of political decentralization system: a) discretion allowed to the local government to perform fundamental functions that allow them to represent the preferences of the citizens in decision making process; and b) mechanisms that hold the local government accountable for appropriate use of this discretion.
The World Bank's Support for Subnational Governance in Large Federal Countries: Lessons Learned from Argentina, Brazil and Nigeria(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) Stoykov, Petar Georgiev ; Yilmaz, SerdarLimited local tax revenue and low public sector efficiency are two critical problems of public sector management and key constraints for the economic and social development of many subnational governments in large federal countries. To create fiscal space without compromising macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability, there is a need for reforms that lead to better use of public resources and improved expenditure efficiency through reforms in budgeting, procurement, and tax administration. This note presents lessons learned from the World Bank’s subnational governance projects in three large federal countries - Argentina, Brazil and Nigeria - between 2008-2017. These lessons learned can be useful in shaping the design of future subnational governance projects in other federal countries, particularly those projects seeking to improve service delivery, public expenditure systems and core governance institutions.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2010) Yilmaz, Serdar ; Beris, Yakup ; Serrano-Berthet, RodrigoDecentralisation offers significant opportunities to improve government accountability by exerting stronger pressures both from below (demand) and above (supply). The literature contains many examples, however, where the potential has not been realised, partly because decentralisation reforms have often been introduced without thinking through their accountability implications. Even when accountability is taken into account, the efforts tend to emphasise either the supply or the demand side of the equation, but not both. Drawing on the sets of literature on fiscal, administrative and political decentralisation, this article presents a methodology for studying this.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2010) Mahieu, S. ; Yilmaz, S.Burkina Faso opted for a progressive approach to decentralization reforms, aiming at building local government capacity first before transferring responsibilities. We employ a diagnostic framework to analyze local government discretion and accountability in Burkina Faso. We find that local governments have a very low degree of discretionary power accompanied with weak accountability towards citizens at all levels. In the political and administrative spheres, the center plays a dominant role in local government affairs leaving little space for discretion. In the fiscal sphere, taxing powers are restricted, while transfers are insufficient and unpredictable, making local financial management extremely difficult. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
No Thumbnail AvailablePublication( 2010) Venugopal, V. ; Yilmaz, S.A large part of the decentralization literature is fragmented along political, fiscal, or administrative lines. In this article we employ a diagnostic framework to draw these dimensions together in a coherent manner to focus on analyzing local government discretion and accountability in Tanzania. Tanzania seems to have a deconcentrated local government system with central appointees having large powers at the local level. Centrally-funded mandates-such as constructing secondary schools-dominate local government plans and budgets. Central control over administrative functions has ensured that administrative decentralization is yet to occur. In the fiscal sphere, progress has been made in transparency and harmonization of transfers in the last 5 years but local governments still have some way to go in raising own revenues, being less reliant on transfers, and ensuring downward accountability. Copyright (C) 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.