Decentralization and corruption: The bumpy road to public sector integrity in developing countries

Document Type



The relationship between decentralization and corruption has intrigued experts in recent years. Decentralization proponents do not explicitly identify anti-corruption as a goal, but its potential as a tool is attractive to public sector ethicists if the appropriate connection can be shown. This article argues that decentralization of govern- ment can foster civic engagement and public-spirited public administration and promote honesty and accountability. Two major strands in the literature are examined: those that associate decentralization with greater corruption, and those that link it with greater public sector accountability. In the end, the proximity between government and people enabled by decentralization gives administrators and citizens a better opportunity to change public service values while reforming the structure of governance.


Developing countries; Local government – Corruption; Public administration – Corruption


International and Area Studies | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Political Theory | Public Administration | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


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