Does Decentralization Enhance Service Delivery and Poverty Reduction?

Does Decentralization Enhance Service Delivery and Poverty Reduction?

Studies in Fiscal Federalism and State–local Finance series

Edited by Ehtisham Ahmad and Giorgio Brosio

Does decentralization enhance service delivery and poverty reduction? Drawing on cutting edge research, expert contributors address this fundamental question facing policy-makers in developing as well as advanced countries. This timely book builds upon insights on the recent developments in the intergovernmental literature first outlined in the Handbook of Fiscal Federalism. New empirical evidence from across the globe is presented: policy-oriented chapters evaluate fiscal federalism with an emphasis on the effectiveness of decentralized service delivery, the decentralization process in different parts of the world is appraised, and specially commissioned research focuses on the political economy process and the outcomes of the decentralization process. The role of international agencies, as explicit donors, is examined in several chapters.

Chapter 9: The Impact of Decentralization on Education in Poland

Maciej Jakubowski and Irena Topińska

Subjects: economics and finance, public finance

Extract

Maciej Jakubowski and Irena Topińska* INTRODUCTION 1 Poland represents a laboratory for the evaluation of decentralization, and there is evidence regarding changes in accessibility, public and private expenditures and teaching quality after more than 15 years of decentralization. The preschool, primary and lower secondary school levels were decentralized in different years under different frameworks and this is used to compare the effects of various policy approaches. The assessment is based on fiscal and school system data available at the gmina (lowest local government) level, as well as on household budget survey data. The latter show how decentralization affects households and individuals. In the case of research on teaching quality, national examination data combined with school system and fiscal data for almost all local governments and students in Poland are explored. The analysis focuses mainly on comparing the situations in 1998 and 2003. These dates were chosen to assess the impact of reforms in 1999 and 2000, which directly affected primary and lower secondary education and could be interpreted as the real beginning of decentralization. Though preschool education was decentralized in 1991, detailed data are only available for 1995–2006, precluding a comparison of what was before the decentralization. The important point is that decentralization is an ongoing process and one should not expect to observe any effects at the very beginning. Thus, trends observed after several years of decentralization are analyzed and the impact of reforms conducted in 1999/2000 is discussed. Finally, we address the question of whether, after...

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