Decentralized Governance: Crafting Effective Democracies Around the World

A new book edited by Jean-Paul Faguet and Sarmistha Pal

A new book edited by Jean-Paul Faguet and Sarmistha Pal, titled “Decentralised Governance: Crafting Effective Democracies Around the World,”  brings together a new generation of political economy studies, blending theoretical insights with empirical innovation, including broad cross-country data as well as detailed studies of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya and Colombia. This comprehensive volume examines the complex dynamics of decentralization in developing countries and explores the potential benefits of transferring power from central governments to local authorities, including the enhancement of democracy, citizen empowerment, improved public services, and economic growth.

The authors initiate their work by assessing five decades of research on decentralization, and argue that when executed effectively, decentralization has the potential to enhance the democratic accountability and responsiveness of government bodies by altering the incentives confronted by local officials. However, the outcomes of decentralization efforts are often mixed and contingent on various factors.

The book offers a rigorous analytical approach, from diverse global contexts and critically assesses decentralization’s impact on democratic and autocratic systems, considering factors such as technological advancements, citizen-focused data systems, and transparency-enhancing reforms.

This wide-ranging volume explores the circumstances in which transferring authority can “intensify democratic competition, boost transparency, and improve local governance, providing examples of good and bad practice in both”. This book will serve as a valuable and essential reference for researchers investigating decentralized governance, development and democratization, and for policymakers and practitioners to draw lessons for future reforms.

1. Decentralized governance: crafting effective democracies around the world (Jean-Paul Faguet & Sarmistha Pal)
2. Understanding decentralization: theory, evidence, and practice (Jean-Paul Faguet)
3. Decentralised targeting of transfer programs: a reassessment (Dilip Mookherjee)
4. Realizing the promise of partial decentralization (Shantayanan Devarajan & Stuti Khemani)
5. Devolution under autocracy: evidence from Pakistan (Adeel Malik et al.)
6. Social fragmentation, public goods, and local elections: evidence from China (Monica Martinez-Bravo et al.)
7. How does fiscal decentralization affect local polities? Evidence from local communities in Indonesia (Anirban Mitra & Sarmistha Pal)
8. Can parliamentary sanctions strengthen local political accountability? Evidence from Kenya (Michael Mbate)
9. Centralized versus decentralized monitoring in developing countries: a survey of recent research (Farzana Afridi et al.)
10. Subnational governance in Ghana: a comparative assessment of data and performance (Daniel Chachu et al.)
11. Birth registration, child rights, and local governance in Bangladesh (Abu S. Shonchoy & Zaki Wahhaj)
12. Administrative decentralization and its impacts on educational expenditure and student outcomes: evidence from Colombia (Valentina Chegwin et al.)

Full book available here (Open Access): Decentralised Governance: Crafting Effective Democracies Around the World