The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Bob Searle, Jun Ma, Stefano Piperno, and Ehtisham Ahmad
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Intergovernmental equalization grants have been described as 'the glue that holds a nation together.' Getting the grants system right is critical to countries as they decentralize. This paper illustrates general principles with an example based on Indonesia in 2000. A general grant should be used to supplement own revenues and to finance local service provision where there are no central mandates. The special needs of backward regions would be better provided for by specific grants. Specific grants need to be taken into account in the general grants scheme.