Working Paper

IDS Working Paper 130

Decentralisation and Poverty-Alleviation in Developing Countries: A Comparative Analysis or, is West Bengal Unique?

Published on 1 January 2001

Advocates of decentralisation in developing countries argue that bringing government closer to the people will make it more responsive and hence more likely to develop policies and outputs which meet the needs of ordinary citizens – the majority of whom are ‘the poor’.

The evidence for this proposition is systematically compared across a selection of African, Asian and Latin American countries. It is concluded that responsiveness to the poor is quite a rare outcome, determined mainly by the politics of local-central relations. Positive outcomes are mainly associated with strong commitment by a national government or party to promoting the interests of the poor at local level; the paradigm case is the Indian state of West Bengal.


Richard Crook

Emeritus Fellow

Access this publication

Read full text PDF, 310 KB

Publication details

published by
Crook, R.C. and Sverrisson, A.S.
IDS Working Paper, issue 130
1 85864 358 9


About this publication


Related content


Informal Economy Perspectives on the Prevalence of Worst Forms of Child Labour in Bangladesh’s Leather Industry

CLARISSA Research and Evidence Paper 8

A.K.M. Maksud & 3 others

21 May 2024