Person: Yilmaz, Serdar
Global Practice on Governance, The World Bank
Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Decentralization, Local government finance, Local economic development, Municipal finance, Fiscal federalism, Public finance
Global Practice on Governance, The World Bank
Externally Hosted Work
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
PublicationDecentralization 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. PublicationSubnational Data Requirements for Fiscal Decentralization : Case Studies from Central Eastern Europe(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003) Yilmaz, Serdar; 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. PublicationDecentralization in Tanzania : An Assessment of Local Government Discretion and Accountability(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. PublicationHow-to Note : A Framework for the Assessment of Political Decentralization(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. PublicationCentralization, Decentralization, and Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-11) Tosun, Mehmet Serkan; Yilmaz, SerdarThis paper examines broadly the intergovernmental structure in the Middle East and North Africa region, which has one of the most centralized government structures in the world. The authors address the reasons behind this centralized structure by looking first at the history behind the tax systems of the region. They review the Ottoman taxation system, which has been predominantly influential as a model, and discuss its impact on current government structure. They also discuss the current intergovernmental structure by examining the type and degree of decentralization in five countries representative of the region: Egypt, Iran, West Bank/Gaza, Tunisia, and Yemen. Cross-country regression analysis using panel data for a broader set of countries leads to better understanding of the factors behind heavy centralization in the region. The findings show that external conflicts constitute a major roadblock to decentralization in the region. PublicationDecentralization, Economic Development, and Growth in Turkish Provinces(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. PublicationStrengthening Local Government Budgeting and Accountability(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-11) Schaeffer, Michael; Yilmaz, Serdar; Schaeffer, Michael G.In many developing and middle-income countries, decentralization reforms are promoting changes in governance structures that are reshaping the relationship between local governments and citizens. The success of these decentralization reforms depends on the existence of sound public financial systems both at the central and local levels. This paper focuses on the role of budgeting as a critical tool in reform efforts, highlighting problems that might impede successful local government budget development and implementation. The attainment of effective local government accountability and transparency is not an end itself, but rather it represents the means to support better decision-making on national and local budgeting. Community based schemes for enhancing local government accountability need to combine legal, political, and administrative mechanisms with proactive community involvement. Of particular importance are the legal and budgetary instruments that require input from local community members on certain local government decisions and instruments that increase accessibility for the press or the general public at large to information on government activities. PublicationLinking Local Government Discretion and Accountability in Decentralisation(2010) Yilmaz, Serdar; 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. PublicationOn the Measurement and Impact of Fiscal Decentralization(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. PublicationDecentralization in Kerala: Panchayat Government Discretion and Accountability(2009) Venugopal, V.; Yilmaz, S.Kerala is regarded as one of the most decentralized states in India. Through a 'big bang' approach, Kerala implemented a significant fiscal decentralization program and then built the capacity of its local governments. We employ a diagnostic framework to analyze its local government discretion and accountability in political, administrative and fiscal domains. We find that Kerala's local governments have a very high degree of discretionary power accompanied by a high degree of accountability towards citizens. But the areas of administrative accountability and financial management need to be strengthened. Also there may have been excessive focus and investment on social accountability mechanisms at the cost of local government discretion and formal public sector accountability mechanisms. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.