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Fiscal decentralization 101

Development from Below

Roy Bahl and Richard M. Bird

Fiscal decentralization is about how central governments empower subnational governments to service their populations and to pay for these services. This chapter provides an introductory overview of the main arguments of the book. We discuss why fiscal decentralization is often part of a country’s development policy, as well as the risks involved in giving local and regional governments more fiscal discretion. Here and throughout the book the discussion is based on theoretical arguments; our reading of the by now extensive research findings on many aspects of these issues; and our many years of observing how middle- and lower-income countries in all regions of the world operate. We conclude that while a few developing countries have turned theory into practice with good results, most have been proved unable to reap the potential benefits in practice so that, on balance, there is not much evidence of effective fiscal decentralization on the ground in most countries.

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Law and Practice, Second Edition

David Ashton

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A Practitioner’s Guide to the Project Lifecycle

Steven Baker, Lawrence Akka and Rachel Glass

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Björn Bjerke

This chapter provides an introduction to the rest of the book. It does so by pointing out that it is necessary to act entrepreneurially in today’s world which contains so much genuine uncertainty. It also divides society into different sectors and entrepreneurs into different groups, highlighting the increasing existence and importance of social entrepreneurs. The chapter characterizes today’s society as postmodern and of a knowledge-type, where interpretive thinking has become important. The author’s opinion is presented, that entrepreneurs can only be defined as such in the beginning of new ventures, and that they are not particularly interested in growth and strategic issues. The chapter summarises the book’s focus on there being two alternative kinds of marketing in the beginning of three kinds of business and/or social ventures, before these ventures have reached any kind of clear and accepted form.

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Ronaldo Munck

Theories of development and social change most often seek to trace a continuity to the era of antiquity, presumably to show its centrality to the ‘human condition’ and its universal relevance. It is often submerged within an overarching teleological concept of ‘progress’ that colours all aspects of the theory and its application. For us, following Foucault, the pursuit of origins is necessarily essentialist. The critical discourse, or genealogical, approach we adopt needs to be set in the context of complexity, too often elided in both mainstream and oppositional development theory. With the social world becoming more complex and elusive, our research approach has to itself become more nuanced and not be reduced to the study of discrete hierarchical entities. Our approach to development needs to be adequate for ‘a world that enacts itself to produce unpredictable and non-linear flows and more mobile subjectivities’, as Law and Urry argue.

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Court mediation reform aims in a global context

Efficiency, Confidence and Perceptions of Justice

Shahla F. Ali

Chapter 1 examines the contribution of existing research, examining the aims and objectives of court mediation reform. These include existing intrinsic and extrinsic rationales for the introduction of court mediation programmes, including efficiency, reduction of caseloads, private and public sector cost reductions, as well as relational, societal and process-based considerations.

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Constitutions: between magic and deceit

Between Magic and Deceit

Günter Frankenberg

Conflicts are translated into constitutional projects, which are in turn transformed into narratives. These narratives encapsulate the ambivalence of constitutions; fraught with ideas, ideals and ideology, they oscillate between magic and deceit depending on how ideology, myth and the symbolic dimension came to play.

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Jonathan Baron and Tess Wilkinson-Ryan

Baron and Wilkinson-Ryan outline the conceptual foundations of behavioral law and economics. The authors concentrate on the behavioral concepts imported into the field from psychology and experimental economics, and survey the normative models, descriptive theories, and prescriptive approaches featured in behavioral law and economics research. They endeavor to point out common themes in the research in an effort to tie together various groups of findings and counter the criticism that the field lacks the cohesion of standard law and economics.

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Malgorzata A. Carran

‘My mum keeps crying but my dad will not ask for help, he says he doesn’t need it’ (17, female) The terms gambling-related harm and vulnerability to such harms are too frequently referred to with the implicit assumption that their meaning is understood consistently and their scope readily agreed upon. Yet, they represent a social construct with often fluid boundaries that is influenced and shaped by political and cultural discourses. This chapter exposes how the UK’s regulatory framework adopts, in substance, a narrow understanding of these two interrelated concepts that emphasises individual pathology at the expense of taking a wider and equal view of all the agents of vulnerability and all the dimensions of gambling-related harm. This, in turn, leads to an imbalance in what social responsibility initiatives become the focus of regulation, which, on the whole, marginalises those who may find themselves in the highest need of social protection.

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The British reference model

The Challenges Ahead‎ for Transmission and Distribution

Vincent Rious and Nicolò Rossetto