Civic Participation in Fiscal Decentralization: A Comparative Study of Developing Countries in Africa and Latin America

Client: World Bank Institute
Faculty: Paul Smoke and John Gershman
Team: Diana Dezso, Tamara Jazbec, Chandi Kadirgamar, Matthew St. John
Year: 2003

The Capstone team was asked to develop a comparative analysis of civic participation structures of fiscal decentralization in Brazil, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. With a counterpart Capstone team that analyzed financial flows, the team developed didactic materials for the World Bank Institute as a capacity building tool for policymakers in Africa and Latin America. The project compared public resource allocation at the sub-national level, focusing on incentives for and conditions of participation in the policy process. The research entailed reviewing donor reports, interview transcripts of local government officials, and studies outlining civic participation models. The results indicate that civic participatory mechanisms shaping local resource allocation reflect each country’s unique political, economic, and cultural context.