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Fiscal Decentralization and Local Finance in Developing Countries

Development from Below

Roy Bahl and Richard M. Bird

This book draws on experiences in developing countries to bridge the gap between the conventional textbook treatment of fiscal decentralization and the actual practice of subnational government finance. The extensive literature about the theory and practice is surveyed and longstanding problems and new questions are addressed. It focuses on the key choices that must be made in decentralizing, on how economic and political factors shape the choices that countries make, and on how, by paying more attention to the need for a more comprehensive approach and the critical connections between different components of decentralization reform, everyone involved might get more for their money.
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Chapter 4: Decentralizing and financing infrastructure

Development from Below

Roy Bahl and Richard M. Bird

Extract

Local governments in developing countries are often responsible for providing much of a country’s public infrastructure. Given the usual magnitude of the infrastructure gap and the limited opportunities for capital financing available to local governments this situation may seriously hamper development. Although the relative advantage of delivering infrastructure services at the local level varies both with circumstances and the infrastructure concerned, there is often a strong case for unbundling responsibilities for these services by sub-function or by stages of the project cycle, with some responsibility falling to the local level. Alternative sources of infrastructure finance – local taxes, user charges, transfers, debt, public–private partnerships – are considered, especially common current practices and some successful experiences.

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