Education Decentralization and Accountability Relationships in Latin America

37 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Emanuela di Gropello

Emanuela di Gropello

World Bank - Poverty and Economic Management Unit

Date Written: November 10, 2004


Di Gropello analyzes decentralization reforms in the education sector in Latin America (their status, impact, and ongoing challenges) by making use of the accountability framework developed by the World Development Report 2004: Making Services Work for Poor People. She starts by identifying three main groups of models according to the subnational actors involved, the pattern adopted in the distribution of functions across subnational actors, and the accountability system central to the model. She then reviews the impact of these models according to the available empirical evidence, and explores determinants of this impact, extracting lessons useful to the design of future reforms. The author concludes that the single most important factor in ensuring the success or failure of a reform is the way the accountability relationships are set to work within each of the models and provides some lessons on how to get these relationships to work effectively. She also provides three main general lessons for selecting "successful" models: (1) avoid complicated models; (2) increase school autonomy and the scope for "client power," maintaining a clear role for the other accountability relationships; and (3) place more emphasis on the "management" accountability relationship and the sustainability of the models.

This paper - a product of the Human Development Sector Unit, Latin America and the Caribbean Region - is part of a larger effort in the region to assess the effectiveness of service delivery.

Suggested Citation

di Gropello, Emanuela, Education Decentralization and Accountability Relationships in Latin America (November 10, 2004). Available at SSRN:

Emanuela Di Gropello (Contact Author)

World Bank - Poverty and Economic Management Unit ( email )

1818 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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