Regional development

Multi-level Governance and Subnational Finance


Subnational governments


Public Investment


Recent publications



Making multi-level governance and decentralisation work

Making the most of multi-level governance and 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 CFE/OECD has developed a comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative work aimed at improving knowledge about multi-level governance. It offers internationally comparative data, analysis and recommendations that help policy makers adjust their multi-level governance practices and generate more inclusive regional development policies nationally, regionally and locally.

This work covers multi-level governance thematic and country reviews, data collection and analysis, standards and recommendations, and policy dialogues through seminars and sharing of experiences. 


Multi-level Governance Thematic Studies

Multi-level governance forms the framework for both the decision-making and implementation of regional development policy. When efficient, these frameworks support synergies among the priorities of distinct levels of government, and can help better achieve national and subnational policy goals.

Over the past 20 years, the OECD has produced comprehensive analytical work on multi-level governance and decentralisation. Through this, it has helped countries respond to a wide range of regional development concerns, including decentralisation and territorial reforms, fiscal decentralisation, infrastructure investment, local public service delivery, climate finance at subnational level, public-private partnerships, regional policy making, etc.

The last flagship publication, “Making decentralisation work: a handbook for policy makers” offers a comprehensive overview of decentralisation policies and reforms in OECD countries and beyond  and identifies 10 guidelines for making decentralisation work. Forthcoming thematic work include the governance of EU funds for regional development, multi-level governance and digitalisation, SMEs and multi-level governance, and much more.

Access our Thematic Reviews of the OECD Multi-Level Governance Studies



The cover of the publication Making Decentralisation Work_A Handbook for Policy-Makers‌        Multi-level Governance Reforms

Multi-level Governance Country Reviews

The OECD works closely with countries to enhance their multi-level governance practices, including in decentralisation, fiscal management, cross-sector and multi-level dialogue and coordination, and performance measurement. It also supports countries to take a more systematic and more innovative approach to subnational finance and investment.

Latest country reviews include “Maintaining the Momentum of Decentralisation in Ukraine” and “Making Decentralisation Work in Chile”.

Forthcoming country reviews include Portugal, Wales, Israel, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan.

Access our Country Reviews of the OECD Multi-Level Governance Studies

  Making decentralisation work in Chile‌        ‌Cover: Making the most of Public Investment Colombia

Data collection and analysis on subnational government structure and finance

The OECD offers public officials, the private sector and academics up-to-date data on subnational government structure and finance to support evidence-based policy-making.

The statistical booklet and database Subnational Governments in OECD Countries: Key Data, is revised annually, and provides information on subnational governments in OECD  countries on subnational government structure and municipal size, expenditure and investment, revenue and tax receipts, budget balance and debt.

Access the database

Key Data on Local and Regional Governments in the European Union presents figures on subnational government organisation and finance in the 28 EU member States, including data on the implementation of EU financing 2014-20.


Subnational governments account for 40% of public expenditure and almost 60% of public investment across OECD countries, compared to 24% and 37% on average at the global level



Subnational Governments in OECD countries 2018 ‌   ‌


The World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment (SNG-WOFI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the OECD and UCLG, that collects and analyses comparable data and information on territorial organisation and subnational finance in 120+ countries, accounting for 86% of the world population and 89% of world GDP. The 2019 report and web platform and database were launched on 17 June 2019 during the 1 International conference of the World Observatory. 


‌More information on the World Observatory.

Visit the SNG-WOFI website here. Data can be visualised using the "Compare Your Country" tool or extracted from the SNG-WOFI database.

World observatory report cover  

Download the Key Findings

Download the Country Profiles: Full report

Download the individual Country Profiles

OECD Council Recommendation on Effective Public Investment across Levels of Government

The OECD Recommendation on Effective Public Investment across Levels of Government, adopted by the OECD councils in April 2014 as an official OECD instrument, supports public officials to make better and more effective investment decisions.

The OECD Toolkit for Effective Public Investment provides an online easy-to-use, red-yellow-green light self-assessment tool to help countries implement the Recommendation. The Toolkit also offers concrete examples of good practices and the Multi-level governance Indicators developed in 2017. 

Download the OECD Council Recommendation

Access the Recommendation Toolkit 


The OECD works with member and non-member countries to seize the opportunities and manage the challenges associated with diverse multi-level governance contexts



Effective public investment across levels of government

Policy Dialogues 

In the framework of its thematic and country reviews, the CFE/OECD actively engages policy stakeholders in policy dialogue activities for exchange of experiences and ideas and the strengthening of networks of actors across levels of government and sectors. It also participates in conferences and workshops organised by its partners.

Upcoming events:

Selection of recent events:

The CFE/OECD is one of the four OECD directorates which jointly manage the OECD Network on Fiscal Relations across Levels of Government, created in 2004, together with the Centre for Tax Policy and Adminsitration (CTP), the EConomics department (ECO) and the Directorate for Public Governance (GOV). It is also a member of the OECD Centre on Green Finance and Investment.





Recent publications

The cover of the publication Making Decentralisation Work_A Handbook for Policy-Makers   Subnational climate finance_report cover        
Making Decentralisation Work - A Handbook for Policy-Makers (2019)    Financing climate objectives in cities and regions to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth (2019)   Subnational Public-Private
Partnerships (2018)
  Asymmetric decentralisation: 
Policy implications in Colombia (2019)
‌‌    ‌      

Rethinking Regional Development
Policy-making (2018)
  Subnational Governments
in OECD Countries (2018)
  Key Data on Local and Regional Governments in the European Union (2018)   Synthesis Report: Multi-level Governance and Cross-Sector Practices Supporting EUSAIR (2019) 

Consult the full list of publications on multi-level governance


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