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The past three decades have seen much attention devoted to issues of governmental, economic and administrative reform. In some parts of the world, these reforms have been highly transformative, with many governments moving from authoritarian, one-party states to relatively democratic ones. Similarly, many countries have witnessed dramatic economic reform. Underlying many of the reforms that have captured headlines around the world has been a widespread movement towards governmental decentralization and the enhancement of local government. This movement has been driven by many forces ranging from local demands for more responsive and democratic grass-roots governance, to the efforts of major international organizations and national aid agencies to encourage the strengthening of local government in countries undergoing institutional transformation.