Decentralizing Development: The Political Economy of Institutional Change in Colombia and Chile

Hardcover | January 1, 2001

byAlan Angell, Pamela Lowden, Rosemary Thorp

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Decentralization has become a fashionable policy prescription among reformers in Latin America. But how does it work in practice? Are the claims that it promotes efficiency, participation, and fiscal responsibility justified? Does the process improve the delivery of social services at thelocal level and encourage the participation of local communities? What conditions allow a positive response to the challenges of decentralization?This book seeks to explore these questions by examining the experience of seven medium sized provincial towns in Colombia and Chile. The overall national context is analyzed and the differences between the two countries emphasized. Colombia embarked on a process of radical decentralization, largelybecause of perceived failures of the state at the central level, while in Chile the process of change was much more cautious, since a relatively efficient central state wished to maintain tight control over reform. The effect on the development and politics of the seven cities is also described, andthe reasons for the very different outcomes assessed. Particular attention is paid to the role of the mayor and the ability to construct a local coalition for reform. Three thematic chapters further explore the impact of decentralization on the local economy and the role of the private sector infostering development; the way in which educational reform has been advanced by local authority and community involvement; and the manner in which the new institutional structures affect the development of policies for local poverty alleviation.The authors draw on extensive fieldwork involving numerous interviews with actors at all levels and from all sectors. The result is a unique test, at the local level in Latin America, of the outcome of reforms to the institutional structure of government.

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Decentralization has become a fashionable policy prescription among reformers in Latin America. But how does it work in practice? Are the claims that it promotes efficiency, participation, and fiscal responsibility justified? Does the process improve the delivery of social services at thelocal level and encourage the participation of l...

Alan Angell is at St Antony's College, Oxford.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:252 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:January 1, 2001Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199242313

ISBN - 13:9780199242313

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Table of Contents

1. The Political Economy of Institutional Change in Colombia and ChileI2. Colombia: Political Renewal and Decentralization in a Weak State3. Decentralization in Four Colombian Cities4. Chile: Decentralization with a Strong State and Weak Regions5. Municipal and Regional Government in Chile: The Persistence of the CentreII6. The Stimulus to Economic Development7. Central Government Reform or Local Autonomy? The Case of Education8. Decentralization, Participation, and the Poor9. Conclusions