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This publication discusses the decentralization issues faced by countries of Asia and the Pacific. It includes practical suggestions on how to proceed in this area to achieve economic growth, macroeconomic stability, poverty and income distribution, services delivery improvements, and political accountability. This note elaborates on adequacy of local revenues and autonomy, expenditure management and clear service delivery mandates, horizontal imbalances and limited use of incentives in intergovernmental transfers, financing needs and local government borrowing, and local management capacities as the major challenges in a decentralized fiscal architecture. The recommendations to address the above challenges also note the long- term nature of these reforms.


This article was first published by the Asian Development Bank (

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez. Fiscal Decentralization in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities. Economics Working Papers. Asian Development Bank, 2011.

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