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This paper examines whether, given the increasing salience of subnational governments, political decentralisation has an impact on overall economic performance. It uses panel data analyses in order to determine the association between a number of the different indices of political decentralisation developed over the last decade and a half with two basic measures of economic performance: changes in aggregate GDP per head and the evolution of within-country territorial inequalities. The results highlight that, in the case of economic growth, the perception the authors may have of how political decentralisation affects economic performance is highly contingent on the index they use, with results ranging from a mildly positive to a neutral influence of political decentralisation on economic growth.
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