When Does Decentralization Deliver? 'The Dilemma of Design'

South Asian Journal of Socio-Political Studies (SAJOSPS), Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 38-45, 2005

11 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2006

See all articles by Chanchal Kumar Sharma

Chanchal Kumar Sharma

Central University of Haryana; German Institute for Global and Area Studies; Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences

Abstract

The paper looks into various questions associated with the dilemma of designing decentralization instruments for the success of fiscal decentralization These include the question of designing the right mix of policies, the questions of sequencing and synchronization, the question of pace and that of balancing the contrasting forces of centralization and decentralization. The paper offers the insight to the policymakers that while designing fiscal decentralization they should not try to replicate any 'ideal type' solution. Though the ideal types can be powerful analytical tools, yet they do not lead to solutions for specific situations Real world fiscal arrangements rarely follow the idealized model; they are loaded with historical developments and political ad hoc solutions. It is simply not realistic to start from tabula rasa. The paper emphasizes that there is no "one size fits all" type answer to decentralization question. All systems will have to work out their own style of going about decentralization and restructuring of intergovernmental relations depending on the context and conditions peculiar to their own situation. The paper also argues that any attempt towards fiscal decentralization must be firmly grounded in the basic principles of fiscal federalism, irrespective of the fact whether the country in question is an officially declared federal state or not. Thus while implementing decentralization policies, the need is to 'bring the federal back in'.

Keywords: Decentralization, Centralization, Design, Sequence, Instruments, Federalism, Fiscal Federalism

JEL Classification: H77, H7, H0, H1, H11, H8, H83

Suggested Citation

Sharma, Chanchal Kumar and Sharma, Chanchal Kumar, When Does Decentralization Deliver? 'The Dilemma of Design'. South Asian Journal of Socio-Political Studies (SAJOSPS), Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 38-45, 2005 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=942456

Chanchal Kumar Sharma (Contact Author)

Central University of Haryana ( email )

Department of Political Science
Central University of Haryana
Mahendergarh, Haryana 123029
India
91+98222888272 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.routledge.com/authors/i16892-chanchal-kumar-sharma

German Institute for Global and Area Studies ( email )

GIGA Institute for Asian Studies
Rothenbaumchaussee 32
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.giga-hamburg.de/en/team/sharma

Centre for Multilevel Federalism, Institute of Social Sciences ( email )

New Delhi
India

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