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Decentralization and access to social services in Colombia

Faguet, Jean-Paul and Sánchez, Fabio (2009) Decentralization and access to social services in Colombia. CLAS Working Paper, 26. University of California, California, USA.

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Identification Number: 26

Abstract

A central claim in favor of decentralization is that it will improve access to public services, but few studies examine this question empirically. This paper explores the effects of decentralization on access to health and education in Colombia. We benefit from an original database that includes over 95 percent of Colombian municipalities. Our results show that decentralization improved enrollment rates in public schools and access of the poor to public health services. In both sectors, improving access was driven by the financial contributions of local governments. Our theoretical findings imply that local governments with better information about local preferences will concentrate their resources in the areas their voters care about most. The combination of empirical and theoretical results implies that decentralization provides local officials with the information and incentives they need to allocate resources in a manner responsive to voters’ needs, and improve the quality of expenditures so as to maximize their impact. The end result is greater usage of local services by citizens.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL: http://www.clas.berkeley.edu/index.html
Additional Information: © 2009 the Regents of the University of California
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > International Development
Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2011 09:32
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2011 09:32
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/37331

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