Public Service Delivery and Empowerment
Edited by Anil B. Deolalikar, Shikha Jha and Pilipinas F. Quising
Chapter 8: Improving service delivery through decentralization
Asian countries present practically every conceivable model of decentralized governance. They range from de jure federal systems, such as India and Pakistan, to de facto quasi-federal systems, such as the People’s Republic of China (PRC). They cover regional systems—Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines—unitary systems, as in the Republic of Korea, and partly or mostly deconcentrated systems: Thailand in the former and Cambodia and Viet Nam in the latter case. Countries also vary considerably in the usual indicators of fiscal decentralization, such as the share of general government expenditure made at the subnational level, as can be observed in Table 8.1. By this measure, the PRC would appear the most decentralized country in the world, with more than 70 percent made at that level; in Nepal, subnational expenditure is barely 9 percent of total government spending. India and the PRC, alone, each present a very complex system of intergovernmental relations that is impossible to evaluate in a single chapter. Each Indian state and each province in the PRC has thousands of lower-level government units, and each Indian state and each province in the PRC has developed a distinct system (formally in India under the panchayati raj system of local government reform and less formally in the PRC).
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