Economics, Public policy

Co-sponsored by the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative of the Open Society Institute, Budapest with distance learning module starting on February 1

Course date

30 June - 11 July, 2008
Application deadline
15 February, 2008
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

Jan Herczynski

Warsaw University, Mathematics, Poland

Daniel Horn

Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Economics, Budapest, Hungary

Nicolas Levrat

Graduate Institute of European Studies, Geneva University, Switzerland

Gabor Peteri

Local Governance Innovation & Development, Ltd (LGID)

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" and involves 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 eight distance learning modules introducing participants to the principles and legal framework of decentralisation, expenditure and revenue assignment and intergovernmental transfer.

The two-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 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.

Accepted applicants will start the distance learning phase on February 1. The final decision on participation in the face-to-face part of the course in Budapest will be based on the results of the first three assignments of the distance learning phase of the course.