Regional Development

Regional Development & Public Investment


Subnational governments are key public investors

Subnational governments - states, regions, municipalities - play a pivotal role in public investment, including for infrastructure, as they invest in areas that are critical for growth and well-being. In the OECD, subnational governments are responsible for 57% of total public investment. When well-managed, public investment can support growth. A territorial approach to public  investment, supported by effective multi-level governance, helps countries maximise their return on investment for regional development.

 OECD Recommendation on Effective Public Investment across Levels of Government

Online Toolkit | Monitoring report | Implementation brochure

Rethinking Regional Development Policy-Making


Topics & Publications

Infrastructure in Regions and Cities 


Subnational governments are in charge of key infrastructure areas that have been strongly affected or mobilised by the COVID-19 crisis, including health care, social services, education, public transport, roads, social housing, utility networks, and digital infrastructure. As part of post-pandemic rebuilding, we support policy-makers to better design and implement sustainable and resilient infrastructure investment in regions and cities. 

Our work on the governance and finance of subnational infrastructure investment is part of the OECD's activities on infrastructure, and supports the G20 initiative on sustainable infrastructure implementation. 


Upcoming: G20 High-level Conference on Local Infrastructure Investment

(Monday, 27 September 2021, Genoa, Italy)

The Italian Presidency for the G20 and Istituto Affari Internazionali, together with the OECD, will organise a G20 High-level Conference on Local Infrastructure Investment. This is the first time that local infrastructure is included as a focus on the G20 agenda. The conference will bring together leaders from regional and local governments to discuss how to boost infrastructure funding and promote transformative and green infrastructure.

The OECD will present the findings of an upcoming paper on innovative infrastructure funding and financing in regions and cities to support the COVID-19 recovery at the conference.

* Agenda, registration details for the event and the paper to follow




Multi-level Governance and Public Investment

When well-managed, public investment can support growth. A territorial and multi-level governance approach to investment allows countries to maximise return on investment for regional development. In 2014, the OECD Council adopted the Recommendation on Effective  Public Investment across Levels of Government, which has been adhered by 39 countries. The OECD closely monitors how countries are implementing the Recommendation. The OECD also carries out country/region study in this field.

Governance of Regional Development Policy

What can governments do to enhance economic development in regions and cities ? Regional and local government finance has been udner increasing pressure, it is paramount to enhance the effectiveness of regional policy governance instruments to add value to public spending and investment. The OECD analysis draws lessons from theory and practices of different countries to support policy-makers in ensuring public spending and investments contribute to regional development as effectively as possible.


Related topics


COVID-19 & Recovery in regions and cities  



Back to the main page of multi-level governance


Related Documents