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Is Decentralization Good For Development?Perspectives from Academics and Policy Makers$
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Jean-Paul Faguet and Caroline Pöschl

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737506

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737506.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Political Capture of Decentralization

Political Capture of Decentralization

Vote Buying through Grants to Local Jurisdictions

(p.196) 9 Political Capture of Decentralization
Is Decentralization Good For Development?

Stuti Khemani

Oxford University Press

A recent trend in decentralization in several large and diverse countries is the creation of local jurisdictions below the regional level—municipalities, towns, and villages—whose spending is almost exclusively financed by grants from both regional and national governments. This chapter argues that such grants-financed decentralization enables politicians to target benefits to pivotal voters and organized interest groups in exchange for political support. Decentralization, in this model, is subject to political capture, facilitating vote buying, patronage, or pork-barrel projects at the expense of effective provision of broad public goods. There is anecdotal evidence on local politics in several large countries that is consistent with this theory. The chapter explores its implications for international development programs in support of decentralization.

Keywords:   decentralization, public goods provision, local government, political capture, local accountability, political decentralization, vote buying

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