Community-driven development programs that decentralized administrative, fiscal, and political functions have become a popular policy tool to deliver public services. We study a large reform in the city of Delhi that decentralized the management of discretionary school budgets to elected bodies of parents. Using household surveys, non-participant observation in schools, semi-structured interviews, and administrative data we ask if decentralization has brought expenditures closer in line to the preferences of parents? We find that expenditures are heavily skewed to the preferences of more traditionally powerful actors, namely men and members of the government bureaucracy.
Emmerich Davies specializes in education policy and politics, the political economy of development, and the politics of service provision, with a regional focus on South Asia. His work has been published in Comparative Political Studies. His book manuscript examines the growth of non-state service provision in low-income democracies, and the consequences for democratic politics. Davies earned his B.A. in Economics and Political Science with honors from Stanford University in 2007, worked for two years for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab in Kolkata, India, and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania. He is on leave for the 2019-2020 as the W. Glenn Campbell & Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow and the Susan Louise Dyer Peace Fellow at the Hoover Institution.