Public sector decentralisation has become a worldwide phenomenon. In recent decades, many countries have decentralised functions, typically with a combination of stated intention(s), such as to improve service delivery, enhance governance and accountability, increase equity in service and development outcomes, and/or promote a more stable state. Reform in a particular country reflects its context and the relative priority of desired objectives.
The main task of this review was to consider what existing literature has to say about how decentralisation affects development outcomes such as poverty reduction, peace and political stability, fiscal improvements, participation, inclusion, voice, transparency, accountability, and service delivery.
Section 1 introduces the study. Sections 2 and 3 respectively outline the approach and methodology, and frame the review in the context of the broad decentralisation landscape and the challenges involved in conducting and interpreting research on decentralisation outcomes. This is followed by a selective summary review of general empirical literature on decentralisation outcomes, including forces underlying how reform unfolds. A section that summarizes the experiences of four case countries (Ethiopia, Indonesia, Philippines, Uganda) is next, followed by a tentative synthetic assessment of the general and country case literature reviews. The paper closes with some concluding comments.
Local Development International LLC. The Role of Decentralisation/Devolution in Improving Development Outcomes at the Local Level: Review of the Literature and Selected Cases. Local Development International LLC, Brooklyn, NY, USA (2013) iv + 90 pp.