Decentralization and Popular Democracy: Governance from Below in Bolivia

Chapter summaries

Introduction

Enthusiasm for, and experiments with, decentralization have swept the world over the past four decades.Theory strongly argues that decentralization should increase citizen voice and participation in the political process, and so make government more responsive and accountable to the governed. These intuitions have prompted a massive policy response across the globe, with an estimated 80-100 […]

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Chapter 1

Prior to 1994 Bolivia was one of the most centralized states in Latin America, with few elected officials of any description at the subnational level, and chains of authority that stretched from the lowliest nurse or school teacher in a distant village directly up to the President and his ministers in the Palacio Quemado in […]

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Chapters 2 & 3

The changes described in Chapter 1 are exactly the opposite of what many academics and policy-makers predict, and what some researchers have found in the past. Why is Bolivia different? Why did Bolivia’s municipalities behave in this manner? To answer, we must investigate the political mechanisms by which power is allocated locally, and the social […]

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Chapter 4

Chapters 2 and 3 showed that local governments in Bolivia were capable of accountable, responsive and efficient government, and also of systematic corruption, unresponsiveness and ineptitude. Which response predominated? This chapter uses quantitative data on the universe of Bolivian municipalities over the period 1987-2007 to provide more rigorous econometric evidence confirming the shifts in investment […]

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Chapter 5

Why does the Bolivian experience of decentralization speak so clearly? This question has two broad answers. The first is that Bolivia decentralized sincerely. Unlike many countries, where reform is promised and even legislated, but only partially if at all implemented, in Bolivia real power and resources were devolved to local governments. This process was both […]

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Chapter 6

Why, then, are good municipalities good and bad ones bad? Chapter 6 steps back from the wealth of empirical data to ask this canonical question. I analyze key factors in the local economy, politics and society that drive government performance. Using these building blocks, I develop a model of government that integrates a variety of […]

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Chapter 7

The theory’s predictions accord well with my case study evidence. Do large-scale statistical results concur? Yes. Econometric evidence in chapter 7, covering all municipalities over the period 1994-2007, shows that where a large number of firms interacted through the political system with an organizationally rich civil society, local policy decisions were responsive to the objective […]

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Chapter 8

The concluding chapter summarizes and takes stock of the book’s theoretical and empirical insights. I connect the findings of each chapter in order to paint a broader picture of what decentralization did and did not achieve in one vigorous reformer. Could Bolivia’s success be replicated elsewhere? Chapter 9 sets out five concrete lessons from the […]

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Chapter 9

Chapter 6 generalized from the experiences of Viacha and Charagua to build a theoretical model in which economic interests, political actors, and civic organizations interact over time to produce public decision-making that is responsive and accountable to voters, or not. The theory is based not only on the experiences of Viacha and Charagua, but seven […]

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Bibliography

The bibliography can be downloaded in Microsoft Word format

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Bonus chapter

Chapter 6 generalized from the experiences of Viacha and Charagua to build a theoretical model in which economic interests, political actors, and civic organizations interact over time to produce public decision-making that is responsive and accountable to voters, or not. The theory is based not only on the experiences of Viacha and Charagua, but seven […]

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