Regional, rural and urban development


Making Decentralisation Work

A Handbook for Policy-Makers

This report offers a comprehensive overview of decentralisation policies and reforms in OECD countries and beyond. Sometimes called a “silent” or “quiet” revolution, decentralisation is among the most important reforms of the past 50 years. The report argues that decentralisation outcomes – in terms of democracy, efficiency, accountability, regional and local development – depend greatly on the way it is designed and implemented. Making the most of decentralisation systems is particularly crucial in the context of a “geography of discontent” and growing divides between places that feel left behind by globalisation and technological change and those that may benefit from the opportunities offered by megatrends. The report identifies 10 guidelines for making decentralisation work and allowing it to be conducive to regional development. Beyond the guidelines, the report proposes concrete tools for policy-makers, including detailed sets of recommendations, checklists, pitfalls to avoid and examples of good practices, both in unitary and federal countries.

Published on March 19, 2019Also available in: French

In series:OECD Multi-level Governance Studiesview more titles


Executive summary
Key findings
Understanding decentralisation systems
Current trends in decentralisation
Decentralisation: Its benefits and challenges
Making decentralisation work: A handbook for policy-makers
Annexes4 chapters available
Subnational government organisation and finance: Sources and methodology
Methodology of the Regional Authority Index
Subnational governments in the OECD
Decentralisation and recentralisation processes in selected OECD countries
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