Decentralisation: A Survey of Literature from a Human Development Perspective

1994 Occasional Paper
By Klugman, Jeni

Decentralization has been a popular theme in development thinking and practice for at least two decades. The interest here lies in the impact of decentralisation of government expenditures and revenues upon human development. This survey explores the extensive literature on decentralisation, revealing the lack of quantitative and rigorous studies. It emerges that this is an area where few, if any, general propositions will hold. Nonetheless detailed analysis of the various dimensions of decentralisation - participation, financing and comparative priorities - and of the relevant effects upon efficiency, resource availability and equity, enables us to draw some interesting lessons from its theory and practice. These can be summarised as follows.