Analyses of how coveted central-government resources in Africa are shared have shown widespread patronage, ethnic cronyism, and pork-barrel politics. While some governments have attempted to rectify the situation by establishing revenue-sharing formulas, a key unanswered question is whether such institutions are able to achieve this goal. This paper presents an empirical investigation of a pioneering formula-based system of resource allocation from the central government to local governments in Ghana-the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF). The evidence is consistent with governments being able to politically manipulate resource allocation within the confines of the formula-based system. Nevertheless, this does not suggest that the DACF completely fails to limit political influence. It indicates that other guiding structures of a formula-based system-in particular, how and when the formula can be altered-are important determinants of how well a program such as the DACF is able to resist political pressures.
A study of the district assemblies common fund in Ghana
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)