Decentralization and Popular Democracy: Governance from Below in Bolivia

Praise for the book

“This book promises to alter the entire debate on decentralization and will certainly make a signal contribution to the field.”

James Dunkerley, Queen Mary University of London

“This is a very important book that provides detailed evidence of the transformative potential of local democracy in developing countries. And it does so for a country that could have been seen as the least promising in Latin America. I value it greatly.”

Roger Myerson, University of Chicago and 2007 Nobel Laureate in Economics

“The policy implications of the book are profound: the findings suggest that policy makers and international organizations that expect decentralization to be a ‘‘one size fits all’’ solution have it completely wrong. It is only through an understanding of the local level dynamics that decentralization unleashes that we will be able to answer why some governments are able to provide responsive and accountable government while others fail to do so.”

Martín Ardanaz, Inter-American Development Bank

“Faguet provides a timely analysis of the long-term effects of decentralization with rigorous methods and innovative data. It is a good example of how robust econometrics, vibrant thick descriptions, and a deep historical understanding of our objects of study can move our discipline forward by clarifying our theoretical debates.”

Alexander Ruiz-Euler, University of California San Diego

“The Bolivian experience is striking and this book will easily be the definitive work on the topic.”

Dilip Mookherjee, Boston University

“[This book] compellingly suggests the Bolivian ‘decentralization shock’ could be a model for other developing countries with weak institutions. Finally, those interested in current affairs can read Bolivia’s decentralization success in strengthening social capital and local democracy as a necessary condition for the rise of Evo Morales and his Movement for Socialism. By empowering local communities, decentralization allowed the previously silent majority to organize from the ground up.”

Joan Ricart-Huguet, Princeton University.

“Faguet becomes a witty novelist, with a rich qualitative analysis cleverly divided into “before” and “after” scenarios. The results are astonishing. In short, this book contributes enormously to the understanding of decentralisation, regardless of the specificities of this country and/or region, and will appeal to academics and policy makers alike. But more importantly, readers will find solid and scientific arguments to validate the idea that better governance in the developing world is possible.”

Martín Mendoza-Botelho, Tulane University

“This definitive study of the Bolivian experience of decentralization contributes to important policy debates in a rigorous way. I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in the political economy of decentralization in the developing world.”

Timothy Besley, London School of Economics and Political Science

“Faguet sheds new theoretical and empirical light on a long-standing question in political science: what is the impact of political and economic decentralization on government performance? He has amassed an astounding array of empirical evidence, including a unique data set of municipal-level spending in Bolivia and qualitative, ethnographic evidence of government performance in different Bolivian municipalities.”

Isabela Mares, Columbia University

“This book makes a seminal contribution to the ongoing debate over the role of decentralisation in state-building and democratisation, by showing how even the poorest municipalities could use the reforms to improve social and educational services, and the crucial significance of strong social movements as well as the power of money in producing either progressive or regressive outcomes.”

Teddy Brett, London School of Economics and Political Science

Awards the research used in Decentralization and Popular Democracy has received

  • LSE Historic Theses Project – selected as an LSE PhD thesis of historic significance, 2010
  • Corporación Andina de Fomento International Research Paper Prize, 2008
  • LSE-STICERD New Researcher Award, 2006-2008
  • British Academy Small Research Grant, 2006-2008
  • DFID-Crisis States Programme Research Grant, 2001-2005
  • World Bank Research Committee Award for Participatory Planning and Decentralization in Bolivia, 1997-2001
  • William Robson Memorial Prize for best PhD dissertation at the LSE, 2002
  • Overseas Research Scholarship - national (UK) PhD award, 1996-98