Decentralisation & local governance

Evidence and experience of procurement in health sector decentralisation

Improving the efficiency, effectiveness, equity and responsiveness of supply chains and procurement processes for pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other health products, which make up a large share of total health expenditure in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), has important implications for health system performance and population health. Decentralised governance of ...» more

Urban governance

Seoul sunrise panorama

What is urban governance and why does it matter? How can key urban policy issues be addressed? This topic guide introduces the literature on urban governance and its relationship to growth and poverty reduction. It considers the key debates and issues, and sets out some implications for practice on specific urban governance challenges. ...» more

Decentralisation and cash transfer programmes

In many countries, national governments have delegated the implementation of public programmes, including cash transfers (CTs), to lower levels of the political administration. This rapid literature review found very little research or empirical evidence on the relationship between federal and provincial government in regard to cash transfer programmes. Much scholarship has ...» more

Political Economy and Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

This report is an update of a 2010 report, ‘Political Economy and Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’, and is based on some of the recent literature on governance and political economy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The report outlines the following key governance and political economy issues discussed in the literature: Political ...» more


What is meant by decentralisation and why is it so popular? Some form of public sector decentralisation is nearly universal practice. Is there clear justification? What is known about how well it works? How can policymakers and practitioners try to better design and implement decentralisation so as to reap potential benefits and limit potential problems?…» more

Fragmented governance and local service delivery in Malawi

Tam O’Neil, Diana Cammack with Edge Kanyongolo, Moir Walita Mkandawire, Tuntufye Mwalyambwire, Bryn Welham, Leni Wild

The aim of this paper is to help government and donors better understand how local government works in Malawi and how decentralisation affects local service delivery. The research set out to understand why local government and service delivery work the way they do, to explain variation across the country, and to assess whether the return of local councils is likely to improve ...» more

Decentralisation and local government

Estimates suggest that decentralisation is being pursued in over 80% of developing countries worldwide. For many people, local government is the part of government that most directly impacts on their lives, particularly via the provision of services like water, sanitation, and primary education and healthcare. Further resources The following resources were included in GSDRC's ...» more

Community-driven development and indigenous, ethnic minority, and disability issues

Few CDD programmes explicitly address minority issues. Many programmes target vulnerable groups such as women, youth, disabled, ethnic minorities, but as one group rather than distinguishing their differing needs. Few programmes are targeted specifically at vulnerable groups alone. Many programmes focus on reducing poverty and vulnerability, with the implicit assumption that ...» more

Direct elections and responsiveness in Indonesia

According to Rodden and Wibbels (2012, p. 4), responsiveness refers to a situation where “candidates offer, and then implement, distinctive platforms that reflect constituent preferences or demands.” This is the definition that is used for the purpose of this report. It is difficult to establish whether direct elections are the main driver of responsiveness. This is because ...» more

Voting behaviour of marginalised groups in Indonesia

While there is limited evidence on the voting behaviour of individual groups living in conflict-afflicted provinces, the literature provides some information about the voting behaviour of people living in ethnically and religiously diverse conflict-afflicted/post-conflict provinces in Indonesia. This rapid literature review found very little evidence on whether other ...» more

State of Local Democracy Assessment Framework

Brechtje Kemp, Mélida Jiménez

This guide is a revised and updated version of the 2002 State of Local Democracy (SoLD) assessment framework. It contains four parts: a general introduction to the SoLD assessment framework; a special focus on the SoLD assessment framework itself; the process of conducting an assessment; and a detailed version of the framework, including the assessment questions.The framework ...» more

Localizing Development: Does Participation Work?

Ghazala Mansuri, Vijayendra Rao

Can participation be induced through the type of large-scale government and donor-funded participatory programs that have become a recurrent theme of development policy? This report reviews almost 500 studies on participatory development and decentralisation. Three key lessons emerge from distilling the evidence and thinking about the broader challenges in inducing ...» more

Conflict and Stabilisation in Mali and the Sahel Region

The report covers factors including: Islamist terrorism; criminal networks and trafficking (of arms, drugs, cigarettes, and vehicles); and Tuareg rebellions against the Malian government. It also considers state weakness, including the weakness of state security structures in the north, and the role of neighbouring countries, ECOWAS, the AU and other international actors. ...» more

Thematic global evaluation of the Commission support to decentralisation processes

European Commission

This Report presents the outcome of the “Thematic global evaluation of the Commission support to decentralisation processes”. The purpose of the evaluation was to identify relevant lessons and to provide recommendations to help ensure opportune and timely support to decentralisation processes.The evaluation covers EC aid delivery over the period 2000-2009 (within the context of ...» more

Decentralized Service Delivery in Nairobi and Mombasa: Policies, politics and inter-governmental relations

Winnie V. Mitullah

In many African countries, decentralisation has long been viewed as a means for improving local service delivery. Yet, despite various decentralisation initiatives, poor service delivery continues to be problematic in two of Kenya’s largest cities, Nairobi and Mombasa. Despite various governance reforms to enhance Kenya’s decentralisation process, backed up by constitutional ...» more

A Gendered Analysis of Decentralisation Reform in Cambodia

Sedara Kim, Joakim Öjendal, with Nareth Chhoun, Tem Ly

This study examines the extent to which democratic devolution has opened space for women to engage in (local) politics. It investigates women's representation in the commune councils; and women's articulation and exercise of power as local politicians. The study finds that decentralisation reforms have opened a space for women to achieve a greater presence in local politics. ...» more

Leaders, Elites and Coalitions: The Politics of Free Public Services in Decentralised Indonesia

Andrew Rosser, Ian WIlson, Priyambudi Sulistiyanto

What factors have shaped the way district governments in Indonesia have responded to their newly acquired responsibilities with respect to the delivery of basic education and health services? This paper explores this question, focusing on the issue of user fees for these services. Since decentralization was implemented in Indonesia in 2001, district governments have had primary ...» more

Electoral Accountability, Fiscal Decentralization and Service Delivery in Indonesia

Emmanuel Skoufias et al.

How does the introduction of local elections affect the pattern of public spending and revenue generation at the local level? The relationship between institutions of political accountability and government performance remains a key concern for analysts and practitioners of public policy design. This article analyses how institutional design for electoral accountability affects ...» more