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Roy Bahl:

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The objective of this paper is to investigate the extent of public expenditure decentralization among developing countries, and to identify its determinants. Using data compiled from international agency sources, and from primary sources, it is shown that fiscal decentralization has gone significantly farther in developed than in developing countries. The use of factor analysis and regression analysis indicates three general explanations for the wide variation in fiscal decentralization among countries. The public expenditure share of subnational governments appears to be greater where the level of economic development is higher, in countries with larger populations, and in countries whose central government budgets carry less of a defense burden. The results also suggest that where central governments mobilize more resources through the revenue system, the subnational government's share of expenditures may be lower—taxes are more likely to stick where they hit than to be passed through as grants to local governments.


Originally published in Bahl, R. W., & Nath, S. (1986). Public Expenditure Decentralization in Developing Countries. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 4(4), 405–418.

(c) Sage. Posted by permission due to unavailability of author accepted manuscript.


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