De centralization is widely lauded as a key component of good governance and development. It is also broadly recognized as a process fraught with complexity and potential failure. This background paper, produced for the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 2011, offers a review of 33 scholarly papers, articles, and books on decentralization from 1956 to present, with the majority of works (26) published since 2000. It includes research by the U.S. government, the World Bank, national and international think tanks, and a wide range of universities and scholars. An annotated bibliography is included at the end summarizing the reviewed works.