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International Issues

Lady Weaving

Good governance is the foundation for economic growth and stability in developing countries. A responsive and efficient government should protect its citizens and deliver such basic services as water, schools, and health care. It should also engage citizens in government.

Urban Institute experts have provided research and technical assistance on local governance in more than 70 countries around the world. The core of our work is in improving delivery and financing of public services, strengthening public management and performance measurement, encouraging civic engagement, combating corruption through accountability and increased transparency, and enhancing local governments' role in economic development.

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Message, Method, and Messenger: Literature Survey (Research Report)
Tanvi Nagpal, Rachel Rose

This literature survey aims to review how communication and advocacy have been used to change local policymaking, programming, and budgetary allocations in the developing country context. Insights gathered from this review will help structure the first phase of data collection for a two-year research grant with Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) on influencing municipal public finance for sanitation. Literature review insights will influence a field guide for semistructured interviews with key policy and political decision makers, professionals in water and sanitation service companies, and community leaders in WSUP program areas.

Posted to Web: December 08, 2014Publication Date: December 08, 2014

Diagnosis in 'Digital India' (Opinion)
Divvy Upadhyay, Additional Authors

Misdiagnosis is likely to be one of the bigger health-care safety challenges facing India and solutions are not simple or obvious. While resource-rich nations are still evaluating how to reduce misdiagnosis, the conversation needs to start in low and middle income countries in order to prepare doctors and the health-care policymakers of tomorrow. As we have learnt, even a single misdiagnosis — such as in the case of Ebola in Dallas — can have widespread public health consequences. The new Indian government preparing its new health policy agenda can recognize the role low-cost health IT innovations could play in improving diagnostic accuracy, including many that would be useful for rural India.

Posted to Web: December 01, 2014Publication Date: November 24, 2014

Urban Institute Joins Cooperative Effort with the City of Seoul to Advance Research on Social Innovation and Human Development (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Today, the Urban Institute announced a cooperative effort with the City of Seoul, Korea, to advance research on social innovation and human development in Seoul. The effort will launch with a workshop in Seoul to identify key research themes, discuss data and methodological approaches, and outline a research program.

Posted to Web: September 24, 2014Publication Date: September 24, 2014

Local Government Discretion and Accountability in Sierra Leone (Research Report)
Benjamin Edwards, Serdar Yilmaz, Jameson Boex

Sierra Leone is a small West African country with approximately 6 million people. Since 2002, the nation has made great progress in recovering from a decade-long civil war, in part due to consistent and widespread support for decentralization and equitable service delivery. Three rounds of peaceful elections have strengthened democratic norms, but more work is needed to cement decentralization reforms and strengthen local governments. This paper examines decentralization progress to date and suggests several next steps the government of Sierra Leone can take to overcome the remaining hurdles to full implementation of decentralization and improved local public service delivery.

Posted to Web: April 17, 2014Publication Date: March 01, 2014

Exploring the Causes and Effects of Revenue Decentralization: Does Revenue Decentralization Increase or Reduce Economic Growth? (Research Report)
Kuralay Baisalbayeva

Although many developing and transition countries are pursuing fiscal decentralization reforms, the debate surrounding the relationship between revenue decentralization and economic growth has not yet been fully resolved. While proponents of decentralization suggest that local own source revenue collections are generally evidence of an effective local public sector, a contrasting view holds that revenues collected by weak and non-responsive local governments tend to negatively affect economic growth. Our analysis suggests that the relationship between revenue decentralization and economic growth differs considerably for different groups of countries, but does not find any evidence for the hypothesis that revenue decentralization suppresses economic growth.

Posted to Web: January 31, 2014Publication Date: January 13, 2014

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