Fiscal Decentralization in Indonesia: A New Approach to an Old Idea

Smoke, P. & Lewis, B.
World Development, Vol. 24, No. 8.

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.

Wagner Faculty