Is Local Always Better? Strengths and Limitations of Local Governance for Service Delivery
Globally, local authorities are significant players in the provision of public services. In recent decades, decentralization has become an important reform strategy in many countries, usually with the support of international organizations. Traditional arguments suggest that efficiency and quality gains in the provision of public services are achieved through decentralization along with greater expectations for accountability and responsiveness. However, some scholars warn that there are also dangers involved in decentralization. For example, local administrations could be understaffed, financially weak, or might be captured by local political elites, which can potentially lead to poorer public service provision. There is also a risk of differentiation between poorer and richer municipalities.
The aim of this special issue is to discuss the extent to which local government might be considered the most suitable tier of government for public service delivery and where the limitations are.
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