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Roy Kelly, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy  

Office Location: 280 Rubenstein Hall, 302 Towerview Road, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 613-9392
Duke Box: 90237
Email Address: roykelly@duke.edu

Areas of Expertise

  • International, International Development
  • Public Finance, State and Local Government Finance

Ph.D., Harvard University, 1985
MCRP, Harvard University, 1981
M.A., Harvard University, 1981
B.A., West Virginia University, 1976

Research Categories: International Development

Current projects: Fiscal Decentralization in Ghana, Fiscal Decentralization and Property Tax Reform, Improving Public Financial Management through Decentralization in Developing Countries

Research Description: Research: Fiscal Decentralization; Public financial management and budgeting, intergovernmental transfers; local government finance; property taxation

Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. R Kelly. "Making the Property Tax Work." repec (April, 2013). [repository]  [abs] [author's comments]
  2. with R Kelly and J Boex. "Fiscal Federalism and Intergovernmental Financial Relations." International Handbook of Public Financial Management. Ed. R Allan and R Hemming and B Potter Palgrave McMillan, 2013
  3. R Kelly. "Property Tax Collection and Enforcement." Primer for the Property Tax. Ed. W McCluskey Wiley-Blackwell Publication, 2013
  4. R. Kelly and Jamie Boex. "Fiscal Decentralization in Kenya: A Small Step or Giant Leap?”." (2011). Urban Institute Policy Brief, May 2011 [html]
  5. R. Kelly. "“Stock Taking of Fiscal Decentralization Policies in Nepal: Consolidated Report,”." (2011). [Stocktaking%20Final%20Report_%20Kelly%202012%20revised.pdf]  [abs] [author's comments]
  6. N Devas and R Kelly. "Regulation or revenues? An analysis of local business licenses, with a case study of the single business permit reform in Kenya." Public Administration and Development 21.5 (2001): 381-391. [doi]  [abs]
  7. R Kelly. "Designing a Property Tax Reform for Sub-Saharan Africa: An Analytical Framework applied to Kenya." Public Finance and Budgeting 20.4 (2000): 36-51.
  8. RKWG Glenday and M Mehta. "Kenya: An Assessment of Local Service Delivery and Local Government in Kenya." World Bank Report 24383 (June 25, 2002).
  9. R Kelly, G Jenkins and R Khadka. ""Central-Local Fiscal Relations"." Reengineering Tax Systems in Low-Income Countries: An Application to Nepal. Ed. GP Jenkins and R Khadka New York: Kluwer Law International, 2002
  10. R Kelly, M Montes, E Maseya, K Nkandkha and K Tombere. "Improving Revenue Mobilization in Malawi: Study on Business Licensing and Property Rates (Final Report)." manual (October, 2001). (Policy Research submitted to the Decentralization Secretariat (Government of Malawi).)  [abs]
  11. R Kelly. "Strengthening the Revenue Side." Fiscal Decentralization in Indonesia a Decade after Big Bang. University of Indonesia Press, 2012 [repository]  [abs]

Curriculum Vitae


Roy Kelly is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University and the Director of the Program on Fiscal Decentralization and Local Government Financial Management. Previously, he spent 19 years with Harvard University at the Kennedy School of Government, the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), and the Harvard International Tax Program teaching local government finance, tax analysis and project evaluation.

Kelly has over 25 years of experience in teaching, designing and implementing reforms on fiscal decentralization, local government finance, revenue mobilization and property taxation in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. He served as a resident adviser to the Prime Minister’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (Tanzania) from 2007-2009, Ministry of Economy and Finance (Cambodia) from 2005-2007, Ministry of Local Government (Kenya) from 1998-2005, and the Ministry of Finance (Indonesia) from 1982-1988.

He has worked on a short term basis in Albania, Argentina, Bahamas, Cambodia, Chile, Ghana, Guyana, Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Kelly received his MCRP and PhD in Urban Planning from Harvard University.

Executive Education Training Programs:

Duke Summer Executive Training Programs: 2001-Present

  • Fiscal Decentralization and Local Government Finance (Director)
  • Tax Analysis and Revenue Forecasting (Faculty)
  • Budgeting & Financial Management in the Public Sector (Faculty)

Other Short Term Executive Training Programs:

  • Implementing Fiscal Decentralization in Liberia, January 2014 (Director)
  • Strengthening Planning Reform at Central and the Decentralized Levels in Vietnam, August 2012 (Director)
  • USAID Fiscal Policy and Management Training Workshop, June 2011, 2012, 2013 (Director)
  • Training Workshops on Tax Analysis & Revenue Forecasting / Public Financial Management & Budgeting, December 2011 (Co-Director)
  • Building a Credible Macro-Fiscal Framework for MTEF in Liberia, November 2011 (Co-Director)
  • UNCDF/UNDP Training Workshop on Fiscal Decentralization and Local Governance in Bangladesh, October 2011 (Director)
  • USAID Training Workshop on Cost-Benefit Analysis, July 2010, 2011 (Faculty)
  • Fiscal Decentralization Training  in Republic of Kenya, March 2011 (Director)

Roy Kelly