Author ORCID Identifier

Roy Bahl:

Jorge Martinez Vasquez

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Over the past two decades there has been an unprecedented move toward decentralized governance all over the world. The changes have taken on special significance in many developing and transitional countries where centralized systems were perceived to have failed to deliver improved general welfare. The promise of political, administrative, and fiscal decentralization is that it can strengthen democratic representative institutions, increase the overall efficiency of the public sector, and lead to improved social and economic welfare for countries that decide to adopt it. One critical assumption behind those expectations is that decentralized governments will generally be more accountable and responsive to citizens’ needs and preferences. At the same time, there is general agreement among experts in decentralization that increased accountability can be ensured only when subnational governments have an adequate level of autonomy and discretion in raising their own revenues. Thus, if effective fiscal


(c) 2008 Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. From Toward a Vision of Land in 2015: International Perspectives. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2008.

Posted by permission.

Included in

Economics Commons