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Toolkits/Handbooks

This section of the website provides links to resources which are designed to assist practitioners in the assessment and implementation of decentralization in developing countries. For example, the Intergovernmental Relations Institutional Review toolkit, prepared by members of the World Bank’s Decentralization Thematic Group, characterizes the degree of decentralization within a country and assesses how well it is designed and implemented. Characterizing the degree of decentralization is useful for monitoring how the roles and responsibilities of different levels of government change over time within a particular country and to a lesser extent, for cross country comparisons. Assessing the design and implementation of decentralization is important for learning if the current arrangements are likely to lead to (a) fiscal imbalance and macroeconomic instability and (b) efficient and equitable service delivery. (Service delivery is also affected by many other institutional issues and thus, is addressed in a separate toolkit.) The toolkit is structured into two major sets of questions to help the analyst in a particular country: (1) characterize decentralization (i.e. how much/what kind of decentralization exists in the country), and (2) assess the design of decentralization (i.e. are there particular design or institutional arrangements which are likely to lead to a "soft budget constraint" and become problematic?).

In addition to the toolkit, links to handbooks prepared by Roy Bahl (Georgia State University), USAID, and others are available.