The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
There is a widespread presumption that decentralization improves public service provision. This has led to policy prescriptions that are assiduously adhered to by countries and international. This paper reviews the recent evidence from OECD countries-which is seen to be inconclusive. This suggests the need for a careful design of programs that take into account the political economy constraints and incentives, as well as more systematic and thorough evaluations of outcomes.