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 in February

Course date

18 July - 29 July, 2011
Fee-paying application deadline:
31 March, 2011
Course Director(s): 

Jozsef Hegedus

Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary

Adrian Ionescu

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

Peter Balazs

Center for EU Enlargement Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Kenneth Davey

University of Birmingham, International Development, UK

Robert D. Ebel

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

Anthony Levitas

The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C., USA

Gabor Peteri

Local Governance Innovation & Development, Ltd (LGID)

Karoly Jokay

Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

The course deals with the process of decentralization and reorganizing the functions among different levels of government in developing and transition countries. Nowadays both transition and developing countries are setting up new systems of local and intergovernmental finance process; however, their scope, progress and potential, as well as the outcome of the decentralization process vary greatly across the countries. The objective of the summer course is to bring together a set of examples and experiences of different aspects of decentralization from countries throughout the world, gathering and elaborating arguments both for and against decentralization and examining the factors that stand behind the different outcomes (level of efficiency, accountability, resource mobilization, etc.) of the decentralization process.

The core issues discussed during the course will be punctuated with practical exercises on alternative assignment of responsibilities, designing the grant structure, possible application of performance measurement, capital investments, etc.

Since fiscal decentralization is closely related to the "restructuring of the public economy", it involves rethinking the role of the state in different sectors, such as social policy, education, housing, communal services, etc. Beside the core topics and analytical framework the course will emphasize a sectoral approach and illustrate how sectoral reforms were organized along (or against) the lines of fiscal decentralization principles.

As many countries in the world are characterized by heterogeneity - sometimes labeled as "fragmented societies", evidenced in the form of "within the state differences" in ethnicity, race, language, geographical circumstances, religion, the course devotes special attention to the different aspects of fiscal federalism and "intergovernmental asymmetry".

The course will be comprised of two phases:

  • the distance learning phase with five distance learning modules will introduce participants to the basic principles and legal framework of decentralization, expenditure and revenue assignment and intergovernmental transfer
  • the face-to-face summer course in Budapest will be offered in a workshop style aiming to achieve the right mix of exercises, case studies lectures, and panel discussions.

Accepted applicants will start the distance learning phase in February, 2011. 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 around the end of May.