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Making Decentralisation Work

A Handbook for Policy-Makers

image of Making Decentralisation Work

This report offers a comprehensive overview of decentralisation policies and reforms in OECD countries and beyond. Sometimes called a “silent” or “quiet” revolution, decentralisation is among the most important reforms of the past 50 years. The report argues that decentralisation outcomes – in terms of democracy, efficiency, accountability, regional and local development – depend greatly on the way it is designed and implemented. Making the most of decentralisation systems is particularly crucial in the context of a “geography of discontent” and growing divides between places that feel left behind by globalisation and technological change and those that may benefit from the opportunities offered by megatrends. The report identifies 10 guidelines for making decentralisation work and allowing it to be conducive to regional development. Beyond the guidelines, the report proposes concrete tools for policy-makers, including detailed sets of recommendations, checklists, pitfalls to avoid and examples of good practices, both in unitary and federal countries.

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Understanding decentralisation systems

This chapter provides a definition of decentralisation, which covers three interdependent dimensions: political, administrative and fiscal. There can (or should) be no fiscal decentralisation without political and administrative decentralisation. The chapter clarifies the scope of the decentralisation concept, which is often confused with deconcentration for example. Finally, the chapter provides a comprehensive picture of the diversity in territorial organisation and decentralisation systems in OECD countries and beyond.

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