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Fiscal decentralisation - the devolution of taxing and spending powers to lower levels of government - has become an important theme of governance in many developing countries in recent years. Accordingly, restructuring of governmental functions and finances between the national and lower levels of government has entered the core of the development debate. A general conclusion emerging from this review of theoretical and empirical literature on intergovernmental fiscal relations is that sub-national governments need to be given access to adequate resources to do the job with which they are entrusted. At the same time they must also be accountable for what they do with these resources. Moreover, like all public policies, intergovernmental fiscal policies must take into account both the political constraints facing policy makers, such as the strength of different provinces and groups in political decisions, and economic constraints such as the stage of development of financial markets.

Odd-Helge Fjeldstad

Research Professor, Coordinator: Tax and Public Finance

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