Decentralisation and subsidiarity: Concepts and frameworks for emerging economies

Forum of Federations
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Forum of Federations Occasional Paper Series, 2015, 15 pp. 1 - 54
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
A global trend towards decentralisation, particularly in emerging and transitional economies, is well underway. At the same time, there are many different meanings assigned to the concept, and it is frequently left undefined, even while it is being implemented. Written under the auspices of the University of Technology Sydney, Centre for Local Government, this paper argues that enhanced understanding of concepts and theories can contribute to improved practice during decentralisation reforms, and consequently be of benefit to governments and to their citizens. Drawing on the theoretical, research and policy literature, an approach is adopted that aims to draw benefits from this literature for public policy and administration in particularly the emerging and transitional economies. The material in the paper is used as a foundation for putting forward a recommended synthesis-framework for decentralisation implementation that draws attention to: appreciating the theoretical scope of fiscal decentralisation; focusing on the country and its goals; considering the design of the system of multi-level governance; focusing on central and local capacity; and adopting flexibility, supported by feedback mechanisms, in the process of decentralisation.
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