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This paper reviews efforts to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of urban service delivery in developing countries. It argues that failures in urban service delivery are not merely the result of a lack of technical knowledge on the part of local government staff, but also reflect constraints and perverse incentives confronting local personnel and their political leadership, and that these, in turn, are often the inadvertent result of problems in the relationship between central and local government. In this respect, the report reviews the spread of decentralization as a potentially fortuitous phenomenon.

Publisher: World Bank

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