The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
Smoke, P. 2008. Local Revenues under Fiscal Decentralization in Developing Countries: Linking Policy Reform, Governance and Capacity. Fiscal Decentralization and Land Policies (Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of land Policy Press).
Smoke, P., Beard, V., Miraftab, F. & Silver, C. 2008. The Evolution of Subnational Planning under Decentralization Reforms in Kenya and Uganda. Decentralization and the Planning Process (Boulder CO: Routeledge).
Smoke, P. 2007. Fiscal Decentralization and Intergovernmental Relations in Developing Countries: Navigating a Viable Path to Reform. G. Shabbir Cheema and Dennis Rondinelli (eds) Decentralized Governance: Emerging Concepts and Practice, Washington, DC: Brookings.
The trend toward greater decentralization of governance activities, now accepted as commonplace in the West, has become a worldwide movement. Today s world demands flexibility, adaptability, and the autonomy to bring those qualities to bear. In this thought-provoking book, the first in a new series on Innovations in Governance, experts in government and public management trace the evolution and performance of decentralization concepts, from the transfer of authority within government to the sharing of power, authority, and responsibilities among broader governance institutions.
The contributors to Decentralizing Governance assess emerging concepts such as devolution and capacity building; they also detail factors driving the decentralization movement such as the ascendance of democracy, economic globalization, and technological progress. Their analyses range across many regions of the world and a variety of contexts, but each specific case explores the objectives of decentralization and the benefits and difficulties that will likely result.
Smoke, P. 2007. Aid, Public Finance and Accountability: Cambodian Dilemmas. Peace and the Public Purse: Economic Policies for Postwar Statebuilding (Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers).
Smoke, P. 2007. Data Collection and Information Technology: Commentary. Making the Property Tax Work in Developing and Transitional Countries (Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Press).
Smoke, P., Gomez, E.J. & Peterson, G.E. 2006. Decentralization in Asia and Latin America: A Comparative Interdisciplinary Perspective. Edited with George Peterson and Eduardo Gomez. (Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar).
Although decentralization and reactions against it have become increasingly important policy trends in developing countries, the study of this nearly ubiquitous phenomenon has been largely fractured across academic disciplines, geographic regions, and the academic-practitioner divide. The contributors to this edited volume begin to cross some of these constraining, artificial boundaries. Considering decentralization from an interdisciplinary, historical, and comparative perspective, they collectively explore why it has evolved in particular ways and with varied outcomes.
In addition to taking an atypically comparative perspective, the volume highlights the importance of an historical analysis of decentralization and links this to institutional and public policy outcomes. Placing decentralization in this context illustrates why it has taken dissimilar shapes and produced varying results over time in different countries. This in turn helps to clarify the types of institutions and conditions required for the development and survival of decentralization, paving the way for more creative thinking and informed policymaking. The countries covered include: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Brazil.
Students and scholars of economics, political science and development will find the policy and theoretical discussions enlightening. The volume will also prove useful to policymakers and development institutions confronting issues of decentralization.
Smoke, P. 2006. Financing Pro-poor Governance in Africa. in Karen Millet, Dele Olowu and Robert Cameron (eds), Local Governance and Poverty Reduction in Africa (Tunis: Joint Africa Institute of the African Development Bank).
Defines key lessons on financing pro-poor governance based on cases from Latin America, Asia and Africa (Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya and Uganda). The starting point for pro-poor fiscal decentralisation is that its major goals should be improved governance and performance, specifically, higher efficiency and equity in service delivery, economic development, and poverty alleviation. The enabling environment for fiscal decentralisation involves first the functions and the resources that might normally be allocated to local governments. Second, it can include alternative models and mechanisms to finance local governments, including intergovernmental transfers, markets, capital and donor financing.
Smoke, P. 2006. Fiscal Decentralization Policy in Developing Countries: Bridging Theory and Reality. in Yusuf Bangura and George Larbi, eds., Public Sector Reform in Developing Countries. (London: Palgrave McMillan).
In a critical examination of some of the most topical and challenging issues confronting the public sector in developing counties in an era of globalization, the contributors to this book examine the potential and limits of managerial, fiscal and decentralization reforms, and highlight cases where selective use of some of the new management reforms has delivered positive results. A common thread that runs through the book is the challenges of capacity to improve public services. Looking beyond the past and the present into the future, the book provides lessons from the experience of implementing public sector reforms in developing countries.
More than ever, the future of East Asian countries depends on the capacity and performance of local and provincial governments, according to the World Bank report, East Asia Decentralizes.
This decentralization has also unleashed local initiative and energy, with new ways to deliver services to people. With great potential for continued improvement and innovation, finds the report, it is essential that decentralization is done right.
The report, which focuses on six countries, notes the differences in the approach to decentralizing government in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Despite encouraging progress, fundamental problems remain. Across the region, local governments lack the resources and power to fulfill their new responsibilities, and they have few incentives to improve their performance.
Smoke, P. 2005. The Rules of the Intergovernmental Game in East Asia: Comparing Decentralization Frameworks and Processes. Decentralization in East Asia and the Pacific: Making Local Government Work June 2005, The World Bank.
Although political forces have largely driven decentralization in East Asia and most countries face similar reform challenges, their decentralization
Smoke, P. 2005. Fiscal Decentralization and Good Governance. Decentralized Governance 2005, United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs, Public Administration and Development Management Division.
Smoke, P. 2004. Expenditure Assignment Under Indonesia's Decentralization: A Review of Progress and Issues for the Future. in J. Alm and J. Martinez, Reforming Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and the Rebuilding of Indonesia. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar.
Indonesia is currently facing some severe challenges, both in political affairs and in economic management. One of these challenges is the recently enacted decentralization program, now well underway, which promises to have some wide-ranging consequences. This edited volume presents original papers, written by a select group of widely recognized and distinguished scholars, that take a hard, objective look at the many effects of decentralization on economic and political issues in Indonesia. There are many questions about this program: how will it be implemented, is there capacity at the local level to implement its reforms, is there sufficient local political accountability to make it work, and how will the decentralization affect the broader program of economic growth and stabilization? Topics covered include: the historical and political dimensions of decentralization, its macroeconomic effects, its effects on poverty alleviation, the assignment of expenditure and revenue functions across levels of government, the design of transfers, the role of natural resource taxation and the effects of local government borrowing. An authoritative, comprehensive collection, Reforming Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and the Rebuilding of Indonesia will be of interest to economists and policy makers as well as students of public finance, development, and Asian economics.
Smoke, P. 2003. Decentralization in Africa: Goals, Dimensions, Myths and Challenges. Public Administration and Development, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Guest editor of this issue of the journal on "Decentralization and Local Governance in Africa.").
Decentralisation is a complex and often somewhat elusive phenomenon. Many countries around the world have been attempting- for several reasons and with varying degrees of intention and success-to create or strengthen sub-national governments in recent years. Africa is no exception to either the decentralisation trend or the reality of its complexity and diversity. Drawing selectively on the large academic and practitioner literature on decentralisation and the articles in this volume, this article briefly outlines a number of typical prominent goals of decentralisation. It then reviews some key dimensions of decentralisation-fiscal, institutional and political. These are too frequently treated separately by policy analysts and policy makers although they are inherently linked. Next, a few popular myths and misconceptions about decentralisation are explored. Finally, a number of common outstanding challenges for improving decentralisation and local government reform efforts in Africa are considered.
Smoke, P. 2003. Erosion and Reform from the Center in Kenya. in James Wunsch and Dele Olowu, eds., Local Governance in Africa: The Challenges of Democratic Decentralization. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers.
Kenya has a rich history of local governance, both from ethnic-group traditions and the system set up during the British colonial era, when local governments were fairly independence (1963), when Kenya's economy and population growth accelerated, demands were so heavy that some local governments could not deliver key services adequately. This situation, combined with the central government's desire for political consolidation to minimize ethnic power conflicts that increased in the postcolonial era, prompted the government to weaken local authorities. Key services (health, education, major roads) were recentralized, and the local graduated personal tax (GPT) was taken over by the center. Grants were established to compensate local governments for their revenue losses, but they were gradually phased out. Control over local governments expanded, with few spending, revenue, or employment decisions permitted without scrutiny by the Ministry of Local Government (MLG).
Smoke, P. 2003. Restructuring Local Government Finance in Developing Countries: Lessons from South Africa. Edited with R. Bahl. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Examining cutting-edge issues of international relevance in the ongoing redesign of the South African local government fiscal system, the contributors to this volume analyze the major changes that have taken place since the demise of apartheid. The 1996 Constitution and subsequent legislation dramatically redefined the public sector, mandating the development of democratic local governments empowered to provide a wide variety of key public services. However, the definition and implementation of new local functions and the supporting democratic decision-making and managerial capabilities are emerging more slowly than expected. Some difficult choices and challenges commonly faced by developing countries must be dealt with before the system can evolve to more effectively meet the substantial role envisioned for local governments.
Smoke, P. 2002. Intergovernmental Transfers: Concepts, International Practice and Policy Issues. with Larry Schroeder, in Y. H. Kim and P. Smoke, Intergovernmental Transfers in Asia: Current Practice and Challenges for the Future (Manila, Asian Development Bank).
There is a large conceptual and empirical literature on intergovernmental fiscal transfers.1 Drawing on this work and examples from various countries, we provide in this chapter a broad overview of the theory and practice of intergovernmental transfers, with particular focus on developing countries. We begin with a review of the main objectives of intergovernmental transfers and the criteria used to evaluate them. We then consider the principal types of transfers and the mechanisms used to implement them. Given the common problem of fiscal disparities across subnational jurisdictions and the particular interest of Asian Development Bank in this topic, we also discuss the measurement of redistribution and equalization in theory and practice, one of the most difficult challenges in designing transfers. Finally, we examine the linkages between transfers and other major elements of the intergovernmental fiscal system, an important dimension of fiscal transfer design that often receives inadequate
Kim, Y.H. & Smoke, P. 2002. The Roles and Challenges of Intergovernmental Transfers in Asia. in P. Smoke and Y. H. Kim, Intergovernmental Transfers in Asia: Current Practice and Challenges for the Future (Manila, Asian Development Bank).
Intergovernmental transfers are an important tool of public sector finance in both industrialized and developing countries. Critically examining selected intergovernmental transfers in three large Asian countries-India, Pakistan, and the Philippines-this study highlights lessons from these countries that those intending to reform their intergovernmental transfer systems might apply. Each country is considered in light of the accepted principles and international practices of intergovernmental transfers. A summary is provided that synthesizes the results from case studies, examining how they meet individual country objectives and how they relate to broader international experience.
Smoke, P. 2001. Beyond Normative Models and Development Trends: Strategic Design and Implementation of Decentralization in Developing Countries. prepared for the Management, Governance and Development Division, United Nations Development Program, New York.
This paper considers recent thinking on and experience with decentralization and local government reform in developing countries, primarily from the perspective of national policy. The paper begins by reviewing why decentralization has re-emerged as an important development trend and considers whether this is sensible. The third section examines why recent attempts to decentralize have not been particularly successful. The fourth section selectively summarizes a few experiences from the 1990s in which attempts were made to overcome common obstacles to decentralization. The paper closes with a few modest lessons for the design and implementation of decentralization and local government reform programs.
This paper examines the origins, conceptual foundations and practice of fiscal decentralization in developing countries. First, it considers why fiscal centralization has been so prominent historically in developing countries, and why this trend has been reversing. Second, it summarizes conventional fiscal decentralization theory and considers its relevance for developing countries. Third, it reviews some popular claims made for and against fiscal decentralization, and considers the available empirical evidence. Fourth, it outlines some key elements of fiscal decentralization as it is being promoted in selected countries, including some of the problems being faced and successes being realized. The paper concludes with some observations on how to think about designing more appropriate and effective fiscal decentralization in developing countries.
Smoke, P. 2001. Strategically Implementing Fiscal Decentralization in Developing Countries. Proceedings of the National Tax Association.
Smoke, P. 2000. Capacity Building for Effective Local Governments in Developing Countries. Proceedings of the American Planning Association, April.
Smoke, P. 2000. Strategic Fiscal Decentralization in Developing Countries: Learning from Recent Innovations. in Yusuf, S., W. Wu and S. Evenett, eds., Local Dynamics in an Era of Globalization, Oxford University Press.
These papers discuss some of the major aspects of decentralization and urban change in the context of globalization.
Smoke, P. 1999. Improving Infrastructure Finance Through Grant-Loan Linkages. International Journal of Public Administration, Volume 22, No. 23.
In recent years, developing countries under fiscal pressure have increasing recognized significant weaknesses in their intergovernmental mechanisms for financing local infrastructure. Many countries are in the process of rationalizing poorly coordinated and subjectively allocated grant systems as well as loans. Such efforts, however, are typically undertaken independently of each other, often providing conflicting incentives for local fiscal behavior. I argue that the reform of grant and loan mechanisms should be explicitly linked to improve the overall effectiveness of the infrastructure finance system. The potential complications involved in designing grant-loan linkages, however, are considerable. I illustrate some key issues by examining the water sector in Indonesia, concluding with suggestions for how to think about creating such linkages in other sectors and countries.
Smoke, P. 1999. Understanding Decentralization in Asia: As Overview of Key Issues and Challenges. Regional Development Dialogue, Vol. 20, No. 9. Also printed in Kammeier, D. and H. Demaine, eds., Decentralization, Local Governance and Rural Development, Bangkok: Asian Institute of Technology.
Reply to Beier and Ferrazzi.
Smoke, P. 1997. Designing Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and International Finance Institutions Allocations for Rural Development. Decentralization for Rural Development, Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, December.
Laura Reese and David Fasenfest highlight important conceptual, technical, and procedural issues regarding the relationship between values, goals, and results in the analysis of local economic development. Less insight is provided on how to make progress in resolving the difficult problems they outline. Experiences in developing countries, where analysts have long wrestled with similar concerns, indicate that improvements in designing, implementing, and evaluating local economic development policies can be realized by focusing on certain types of procedural reforms, including the use of multidisciplinary ex-ante policy appraisal; the adoption of a more broadly inclusive process to define, implement, and monitor local economic development policies; and greater emphasis on analysis of the specific institutional context in which local economic development policies must function. Recent work in the United States also suggests that policy makers should direct more attention to the critical problem of enforcing local economic development policy.
Smoke, P. 1996. Decentralization in Africa: Strategies and Opportunities for Reform. Development Policy Management Forum, December.
The system for financing and delivering local public services in Indonesia, as in many developing countries, is highly centralized. Growing awareness of the weaknesses of the present system has recently generated much interest in decentralization and numerous government policies and programs toward that end. In spite of these efforts, the role and capacity of local governments remain weak. In this paper, we outline the most critical obstacles to decentralization and examine a strategy to reduce their significance. Instead of centering our analysis on the definition of a normatively desirable decentralization outcome, we focus on the development of a process through which genuinely feasible outcomes could be defined and implemented, in this case an interministerial and intergovernmental process for evaluating local governments.