Effects of Fiscal Decentralization on Poverty Reduction in Kenya
Mwiathi, Peter Silas
Wawire, Nelson H.W.
Okelo, Perez A. Onono
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The Kenya government has instituted fiscal decentralization over the years to promote social economic development, reduce poverty and income inequality and ensure balanced regional development. Despite these efforts, poverty levels have remained high in Kenya. The literature on the relationship between fiscal decentralization and poverty has been rather inconclusive about the effects of fiscal decentralization on poverty. The main objective of this paper was to analyse the effects of fiscal decentralization on poverty in Kenya. Using cross-county panel data from 2002 – 2014 and published data from government agencies, UNDP reports and World Bank reports, the paper estimated various empirical models to analyse the effects intergovernmental transfers, sub-national own-source revenue and county expenditure on poverty in Kenya. The study established that the effect of fiscal decentralization on poverty depends on the nature of decentralization and the extent of fiscal decentralization as well as the county specifics. The paper therefore, recommends the need for for county governments to have adequate own-source revenue to finance their expenditure as opposed to relying on intergovernmental transfers from national government.