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This review essay analyses three recent works on the relationship between democracy and decentralisation, with a focus on local participation and empowerment: Democracy and Decentralisation in South Asia and West Africa: Participation, Accountability and Performance (Richard Crook and James Manor), Good Government in the Tropics (Judith Tendler), and a thematic issue of the European Journal of Development Research on `Democratic Decentralisation through a Natural Resource Lens: Experiences from Africa, Asia and Latin America’, edited by Anne M. Larson and Jesse C. Ribot.

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