Economics, Public policy

In co-operation with the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative of the Open Society Institute, Budapest and the World Bank Institute, Washington

Course date

29 June - 5 July, 2003
15 February, 2003
Course Director(s): 

Jozsef Hegedus

Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary

Adrian Ionescu

Joint Integrated Local Development Programme, UNDP, Moldova
Course Faculty: 

Robert D. Ebel

Economic Development Institute (EDI) World Bank, Washington, DC., USA

Nicolas Levrat

Graduate Institute of European Studies, Geneva University, Switzerland

Katalin Pallai

Independent Consultant, Budapest, Hungary

Peter Szegvari

Hungarian Regional Development Public Ltd, Budapest, Hungary

This course has been made possible by a generous grant from the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative of the Open Society Institute, Budapest and the Word Bank Institute, Washington. This course offers an analytical framework for understanding and implementing fiscal decentralization: improving assignment of functions and responsibilities and the fiscal relations between the central, regional, and local governments.Fiscal decentralization is closely related to the "restructuring of the public economy", meaning rethinking the role of the state in different sectors, such as social policy, education, housing, communal services, etc.

The process of restructuring took much more time than it was originally planned. Furthermore, the process involved little if no coordination at all among the sectors, and therefore has not taken into consideration the effect this may have on fiscal decentralization. In fact sectoral reform has often not organized itself along the lines of fiscal decentralization principles at all.

The course will start with six distance learning modules introducing participants to the principles and legal framework of decentralisation, expenditure and revenue assignment and intergovernmental transfer.

The one-week workshop style course will include an advanced discussion and analysis through exercises and case studies from the region, in the following areas:

  1. worldwide trends in fiscal decentralization and the concept and practice of the assignment of expenditure responsibilities and revenue authority;
  2. the design of various forms of central to sub-national transfers and local own-source revenues; creditworthiness and the financial risks of local authorities; and
  3. the emerging topic of budgeting and local public management.

Attuned to new teaching techniques, the workshop aims to achieve the right mix of exercises, lectures, and interactive learning methods. This includes the dissemination of materials prior to the course presentation (in paper form and electronically).

The course will use distance learning techniques to teach the basics, and during the course the group will focus more on the case studies and exercises.