This concluding chapter argues that fiscal decentralization has had little chance to prove itself as a development strategy. Though only a few countries have reversed moves towards fiscal decentralization, almost none have done much to increase the fiscal autonomy of local governments. Decentralization may certainly give rise to problems, but for the most part those that have been observed in practice are due more to poor design and implementation than to any inherent flaw in the approach. The most important constraints impeding meaningful decentralization in many countries are the inadequacy of independent local government taxing powers and the failure to provide enough special arrangements for the financing and governance of large urban areas. The chapter concludes by suggesting some guidelines that may help countries to decentralize in a more effective and sustainable way.
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