Call for papers: “4th South Asia Economic Network Conference 2019″ – SANEM and World Bank


4th South Asia Economic Network Conference 2019

Subnational Finance and Local Service Delivery”

September 7 to 8, 2019 in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Organised by SANEM and The World Bank

Across the world the relevance of local governments – states, provinces, and municipalities – has been increasing for a long time and decentralization has emerged as a dominating paradigm in Asia since the 1990s. Pakistan has moved to a federal structure more than ten years ago and Nepal is moving toward fiscal federalism right now. In Bhutan, decentralization features prominently in the new Five-Year Plan and in India the 15th Finance Commission is concerned with subnational finance as well. The World Bank and other developing partners have a long history supporting countries during their transition to political, administrative, and fiscal decentralization. Fiscal decentralization can improve allocative efficiency and preference matching and is often accompanied by stronger accountability and helpful competition between local governments. Hence, more responsibilities at the subnational level are usually expected to strengthen democracy, transparency, and especially to bring about more efficient service delivery. However, evidence to confirm the success of past decentralization efforts is scare. Empirical studies find mixed evidence and successful decentralization seems to require certain conditions. Fiscal decentralization is a potentially threat to redistribution and bound to fail if scale effects are important or local capacity is very low. Consequently, there is ongoing debate about the appropriate locus of fiscal responsibility and decision making.Papers should be relevant to any of the following themes:

Against this backdrop, SANEM and the World Bank invite papers addressing one of the following (or related) questions:

  • ** How is subnational finance affecting local service delivery in South Asia?
  • ** How successful are decentralization efforts in South Asia in improving service delivery?
  • ** What is the effect of fiscal decentralization on the efficiency of public services? Which conditions make decentralization efforts more successful?
  • ** How can the measurement and reporting of subnational expenditure and subnational revenue in South Asia be strengthened?

While we will consider extended abstracts, we strongly encourage the submission of full papers. Travel costs of invited speakers from South Asia will be fully covered. The conference will feature different academic sessions as well as a special lecture and a high-level policy discussion.

Paper Submissions:

Please submit your paper (or extended abstract) to Rucheta Singh at and Selim Raihan at no later than July 15, 2019. Kindly include along with the paper the author information. Invited speakers will be notified by the end of July.

Format of the Abstract:

The abstract should be an extended one that will include the objectives, the research questions, a brief description of the methodology and an outline of the paper.

Program Committee:

Selim Raihan (SANEM, Bangladesh)
Farrukh Iqbal (IBA, Pakistan)
Saikat Sinha Roy (Jadavpur University, India)
Chandranath Amarasekara (SLCB, Sri Lanka)
Paras Kharel (SAWTEE, Nepal)
Hans Timmer (World Bank)
Robert Beyer (World Bank)

Conference Venue:

BRAC Center Inn, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Download the call