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Fiscal Decentralization and Local Finance in Developing Countries

Development from Below Roy Bahl, Professor Emeritus, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, US and Professor Extraordinarius, University of Pretoria, South Africa and Richard M. Bird, Professor Emeritus, Rotman School of Management and Senior Fellow, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada
This book draws on experiences in developing countries to bridge the gap between the conventional textbook treatment of fiscal decentralization and the actual practice of subnational government finance. The extensive literature about the theory and practice is surveyed and longstanding problems and new questions are addressed. It focuses on the key choices that must be made in decentralizing, on how economic and political factors shape the choices that countries make, and on how, by paying more attention to the need for a more comprehensive approach and the critical connections between different components of decentralization reform, everyone involved might get more for their money.
Extent: 512 pp
Hardback Price: $190.00 Web: $171.00
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78643 529 3
Availability: In Stock
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Development Economics
  • Public Finance
As experience with decentralization has accumulated, perceptions of both the problems that often accompany decentralization and the best ways to deal with them have evolved. This book draws on experiences in developing countries to bridge the gap between the conventional textbook treatment of fiscal decentralization and the actual practice of subnational government finance. The extensive literature about the theory and practice is surveyed, and longstanding problems and new questions are addressed.

There is no simple or single way to get decentralization right. To be successful, scholars of fiscal decentralization must pay close attention to the unique political, economic, and institutional context and objectives in each country. The authors focus on the key choices that must be made in decentralizing, on how economic and political factors shape the choices that countries make, and on how, by paying more attention to the need for a more comprehensive approach and the critical connections between different components of decentralization reform, everyone involved might get more for their money.

Bahl and Bird have created a valuable resource for scholars, students, and practitioners from economics, public administration and management, planning, policy analysis, and political science. 
‘. . .Bahl and Bird’s book is worth reading from cover to cover, but it can also serve as a reference point for some of the contentious issues in fiscal decentralisation.’
– Local Government Studies
Contents: Preface Part I Why Decentralization Matters 1. Fiscal Decentralization 101 2. Has Decentralization Worked? Part II Decentralizing Expenditure 3. Expenditure Assignment and Management 4. Decentralizing and Financing Infrastructure Part III Financing Local Government: The Key to the Puzzle 5. Financing Local and Regional Government 6. Taxing Land and Property 7. Intergovernmental Transfers Part IV Summing Up 8. Financing Metropolitan Areas 9. Giving Decentralization a Chance References Index