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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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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

Analyzing the Role of the Local Public Sector in Achieving Sustainable Development: Does More Spending at the Local Level Result in Better Development Outcomes? (Research Report)
Jameson Boex

The local public sector delivers services crucial for achieving sustainable and inclusive development. However, little is known about the extent to which the structure of a country's public sector contributes to successful service delivery outcomes. With USAID's support, the Urban Institute analyzed the vertical allocation of resources within the public sector in ten developing countries. Results show considerable variation in the degree to which financial resources flow to the local public sector (from less than 20 percent to over 50 percent), and a positive relationship appears to exist between the size of the local public sector and government effectiveness.

Posted to Web: August 01, 2013Publication Date: August 01, 2013

Effective Aid to Trade-Impacted Manufacturers (Research Report)
Kathryn L.S. Pettit, Christopher Walker

The trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program for firms was authorized by the Trade Act of 1974, to assist manufacturing firms adversely affected by increased international trade with companies that produce products imported at increased levels and have declining sales and employment. The report presents the analyses and findings of business management, technical assistance and current processes provided to firms.

Posted to Web: May 29, 2013Publication Date: November 01, 1998

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