Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637 | Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Dennis A. Rondinelli
For more than a half century, governments have been decentralizing their bureaucratic structures and administrative agencies as a part of an effort to democratize political systems, allow more popular participation in public affairs, make public service delivery more efficient, and extend coverage by giving local administrative units more responsibility for providing public services. Governments generally use one or more of four types of decentralization to achieve their objectives. First, deconcentration transfers responsibilities and authority to lower levels within the central government. Second, devolution grants powers for selected functions or activities to local government units. Third, delegation empowers special authorities or quasi-government organizations to carry out specified functions as agents of the central government. Finally, deregulation shifts authority from the government to the private sector or to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Governments often decentralize to accelerate economic development, increase political accountability, enhance public participation in governance, and help break bottlenecks in decision ...