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File2-page235 - of accountability Understanding what...

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Besley & Ghatak (Mimeo) Decentralisation and NGOs and poor targeting . One reason for this might be that it is more difficult to monitor the per- formance of bureaucrats (which administer centralised programmes) than local officials (who administer decentralised programmes) is due to poor communication systems, weak accounting systems, high levels of collu- sion between inspectors and bureaucrats and limited administrative ca- pacity to process information concerning local conditions. As a result there may be an absence of information concerning local needs and conditions in centralised bureaucracies because corrupt bureaucrats have limited incentives to provide this information. In this sense decen- tralisation can strengthen accountability by capitalising on the information advantage of operating at the local level. This advantage, however, is reduced if local governments are more prone to capture by elites than central government, in which case, again there will be no incentive to make use of information on local needs and a lack
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Unformatted text preview: of accountability. Understanding what determines the level of capture at the local level is thus critical to understanding whether decentralisation will represent an improvement over centralisation. Contributory factors are likely to in-clude (i) a lack of political competition, (ii) irregular or unfair elections, (iii) uninformed voters and (iv) insensitivity of voters to mobilisation by political parties. This analysis suggests that decentralisation experiments are unlikely to be successful unless they are accompanied by political reforms which en-hance the level of local democracy. 3. Endogeneity of Institutions: It is often argued that devolving respon-sibility for provision may encourage the emergence of institutions which more are both more accountable and more effective at reaching the needy local participation is seen as the key to this process. If decision-making is localized, it is argued, there is likely to be a greater Development Economics, LSE Summer School 2007 232...
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