This paper assesses how decentralization can contribute, if proper political and fiscal institutions are present, to improving service delivery in Asia. In other words, decentralization is an opportunity and a challenge at the same time. The paper presents the salient characteristics of decentralized government in Asia and then focuses on the analysis of critical issues leading to "partial decentralization" that is common to most models. Consideration is also given to the emerging challenges common to most Asian systems. Finally, the paper addresses the issue of decentralization in the education sector. This is a crucial sector in terms of costliness and of impact on national growth and individual opportunities, where, however, the outcomes of decentralization are difficult to assess.
decentralization service delivery fiscal federalism