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Title: The impact of fiscal decentralisation on accountability and public entrepreneurship : a case of rural local governments in Mexico
Author: Gerardou, Flor Silvestre
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 195X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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Decentralisation, meaning the delegation of responsibilities from central to lower government levels is generally assumed to improve the delivery of local public services. The theoretical assumption is that local authorities are encouraged by decentralisation to behave in a more accountable and entrepreneurial fashion. At the same time, accountability and (public) entrepreneurship are distinct concepts and may even be considered to involve conflicting behaviours. Therefore, decentralisation outcomes may vary depending on which behavioural pattern predominates. Previous research has focused on using large data sets to examine the impact of decentralisation on outcomes such as economic growth, disparities, poverty reduction and government performance. But there is also a need to better understand how decentralisation, and specifically fiscal decentralisation, may promote accountability and public entrepreneurship in specific settings. To contribute to closing this gap, this dissertation examines both fiscal decentralisation policies and contemporaneous changes in political arrangements. It identifies the incentives these changes create for Mexican local authorities to behave in more accountable and entrepreneurial ways and which may lead to differences in government performance. The study focuses on rural municipalities where achieving the predicted decentralisation outcomes is highly challenging. A mixed methods research design was used with two phases. In the first stage, the relationship between fiscal decentralization and changes in government accountability and entrepreneurship was investigated through statistical analysis based on fixed effects estimation using a sample of 505 rural municipalities. For that purpose a longitudinal dataset was developed, comprising municipal level information between the years 1990 and 2009, including indices for accountability and public entrepreneurship. Phase two involves multiple case studies of individual municipalities that were selected based on performance. The empirical evidence suggests that decentralisation policy has tended to work against accountability but has increased entrepreneurial behaviour in rural municipalities, highlighting the potential tension between the two. The extent to which these effects occur seems to depend on the particular fiscal arrangement. In addition, political competition seems to reinforce accountability and has an impact in entrepreneurship in a different way to the effects expected theoretically, though the effects are not as strong as with fiscal decentralisation. This study advances the public entrepreneurship literature and expands the understanding of fiscal decentralisation. Additionally, it provides suggestions for which policy arrangements are likely to promote accountability and entrepreneurial actions by public authorities.
Supervisor: Wolf, Alison Margaret ; Delindro Goncalves, Sonia Maria Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: decentralisation ; democracy ; intergovernmental transfer ; tax system; political variables ; accountability ; public entrepreneurship