Globalization puts extra pressure on local governments to be more responsive and accountable. The belief from theory is that with high levels of fiscal autonomy, the elected public officials would be more responsive to allocate resources to the local priority areas determined by citizen interests and preferences. On the face of it, responsiveness reads like the normative outcome of fiscal autonomy in the developing and emerging economies. However, an empirical comparative analysis of responsiveness for Uganda and Thai municipal governments provides reasons for both optimism and pessimism. The findings challenge the traditional theory for responsiveness being an outcome of a coherent fiscal decentralization system that follows specific and predetermined rational logic of consequentiality. The paper concluded that responsiveness facilitated fiscal autonomy not the other way round in municipal governments. The paper therefore recommended country and circumstance specific conditions under which responsiveness would more likely happen in municipal settings. The perceived conditions for responsiveness to happen is included but not limited to spending according to the source; more involving system of selecting representatives to assemblies; renewed national government commitment to empower municipal institutions and the citizens; and more incorporation of civil society to play a more participative role in municipal governance.
Key words: Reframing, convergence, fiscal autonomy, responsiveness, municipalities.
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