Decentralization is on the policy agenda all over the world. Not only is it squarely in the forefront of the development debate throughout Latin America, Africa and Asia, but it is also at the center of public policy-making in Europe and North America under the guises of subsidiarity, devolution, and federalism.

Despite the importance of decentralization, however, academic literature still falls short of what is necessary to guide better policy thinking and practice. Although real experiments in decentralization are under way in scores of countries and literally hundreds of empirical studies have been conducted, the economic and political effects of decentralization are still unclear. Furthermore, the key determinants that differentiate successful from unsuccessful decentralization strategies are largely unknown.

This Task Force builds bridges between analysis and practice, while highlighting deficiencies at both ends.