commission on fiscal imbalance 合集

In this process political accountability should

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Unformatted text preview: -makers and the public can often be implemented more quickly and easily locally than centrally. It should be recognized that in many countries local governments use a wide variety of techniques in determining people's preferences and having them involved in decision-making and application process. For example, a survey of water supply users in Baku, Azerbaijan revealed that users are willing to pay more for better quality of services (World Bank, 1995). In Bangalore and several other Indian districts, local governments use report cards to evaluate effectiveness of service delivery. In Colombia, municipalities have formed public-private councils to obtain technical assistance from the private sector. Together with shortening the distance between people and elected representatives and widening the scope for greater transparency about how and where money is spent locally, decentralization makes accountability a more tangible issue. Therefore, the debate about decentralization of government should not be limited only to considerations of economic factors and efficiency. Political accountability of elected officials to voters ensures that government services are responsive to people's needs. If officials are not responsive, the citizen has the choice of either voting out the offending officials and/or migrating to other jurisdictions (to "vote with one's feet"). In democratic societies, public servants are responsible to elected officials and the latter are in turn responsible to the public that elected them in the first place. In this process, political accountability should increase the pressure for more transparent local governance that is more responsive to people's needs. The democratic local governance initiatives currently under way in many countries hold much promise for developing effective systems of public accountability that will ensure that public resources are used efficiently and services are delivered effectively. Studies have shown that citizens' participation and control over government's actions can increase the quality of public management system and that participation of citizens in decision-making process can lead to some identifiable improvements in the allocation of resources (Putnam, 1993; Fiszbein, 1997; Huther and Shah, 1998; Inter-American Development Bank, 1997). 3. DIFFERENCES IN THE DEGREE OF DECENTRALIZATION It is likely that the average divergence of individual preferences from the tax and service package adopted by the community through its government will be less in small communities of relatively like-minded individuals than it will be in larger, more heterogeneous areas. Therefore, the differences in the degree of decentralization across nations are in part explained by different size variables, such as population (Oates, 1972; Pommerehne, 1977; Bahl and Nath, 1986), land area (Oates, 1972), and GDP (Pommerehne, 1977). Figures 3 and 4 present the variation in expenditure and revenue shares of subnational governments across regions. As presented in figures 3 and 4, high-income countries are relatively more decentralized than others. Subnational governments in sub-Sahara...
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