This 1998 book is an in-depth empirical study of four Asian and African attempts to create democratic, decentralised local governments in the late 1980s and 1990s. The case studies of Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Karnataka (India) and Bangladesh focus upon the enhancement of participation; accountability between people, politicians and bureaucrats; and, most importantly, on whether governmental performance actually improved in comparison with previous forms of administration. The book is systematically comparative, and based upon extensive popular surveys and local field work. It makes an important contribution to current debates in the development literature on whether 'good governance' and decentralisation can provide more responsive and effective services for the mass of the population - the poor and disadvantaged who live in the rural areas.
• An in-depth study of the effectiveness of democratic reform in four developing countries - Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, India, Bangladesh • Offers genuine comparison across countries, and draws lessons for making government responsive and effective • Based on careful fieldwork and mass surveys of the populations involved
1. Introduction; 2. India (Karnataka); 3. Bangladesh; 4. Cote d'Ivoire; 5. Ghana; 6. Conclusions.