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Decentralisation and government provision of public goods: The public health sector in Uganda

John Akin, Paul Hutchinson and Koleman Strumpf

Journal of Development Studies, 2005, vol. 41, issue 8, 1417-1443

Abstract: While many developing countries have devolved health care responsibilities to local governments in recent years, no study has examined whether decentralisation actually leads to greater health sector allocative efficiency. This paper approaches this question by modeling local government budgeting decisions under decentralisation. The model leads to conclusions not all favourable to decentralisation and produces several testable hypotheses concerning local government spending choices. For a brief empirical test of the model we look at data from Uganda. The data are of a type seldom available to researchers-actual local government budgets for the health sector in a developing country. The health budgets are disaggregated into specific types of activities based on a subjective characterisation of each activity's 'publicness'. The empirical results provide preliminary evidence that local government health planners are allocating declining proportions of their budgets to public goods activities.

Date: 2005
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DOI: 10.1080/00220380500187075

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