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Information about ASelee

Published on January 9, 2008

Author: Terenzio


Democracy Close to Home? Decentralization and Democratic Governance in Latin America (Preliminary Findings and Proposed Research):  Democracy Close to Home? Decentralization and Democratic Governance in Latin America (Preliminary Findings and Proposed Research) Andrew Selee, Ph.D. Student Maryland School of Public Affairs Decentralization :  Decentralization Wave of decentralization reforms in almost every country in L.A. since 1980 (parallel to similar reforms in other parts of the world; but L.A. countries share certain commonalities) Legal, constitutional, and political changes that allow subnational governments to exercise greater authority and act with increased autonomy Not the first decentralization wave but the first one in the context of a broad period of democratization Decentralization & Democracy :  Decentralization & Democracy Has decentralization improved democratic governance in Latin America (Mexico)? How much has decentralization changed the state itself? How much has decentralization changed the relationship between the state and society? Structure of the Presentation:  Structure of the Presentation Centralization in Latin America Reasons for decentralization today The changing state: preliminary findings Changing relations between state and society: a proposal for research I. Centralization in L.A.:  I. Centralization in L.A. Dual traditions: Centralized authority (extraction and control) vs. Regional landed elites (+ survival of local self-governance) Increased centralization in the 20th century with the consolidation of the nation-state Mass politics Central resource control (tariffs, oil, etc.) Centrally directed industrial development Urban industrial and labor classes Mexico: PRI as unification of disparate elites; vertical, corporatist, inclusive Consequences of Centralization:  Consequences of Centralization National identity (extension of education) Economic growth Disparities in development Exclusion of ethnic minority identities Authoritarianism/Clientelism (?) Mexico: A political system that contained social protest and ensured growth, but created disparities, excluded ethnic identities, and channeled public debate through vertically structured corporatist channels II. Decentralization:  II. Decentralization Economic crisis Search for efficiency (Mexico, Brazil) Slimming of the state (Argentina) Democratization Desire to limit central power and make government close to people (Mexico, Brazil) Crisis of legitimacy of political system (Venezuela, Bolivia) Desire of national leaders to distract attention from national politics (Mexico) Reemergence of spaces for influence of local leaders III. The Decentralized State:  III. The Decentralized State Considerable variation among countries Tied closely to historical patterns of centralization/decentralization Usually gradual (except Colombia, Bolivia) Political Changes :  Political Changes * Elections existed but were not free ** Elections had existed previously but been suspended under military rule Administrative Changes:  Administrative Changes Fiscal Changes **Percentage of Public Expenditures Exercised by Subnational Governments before and after major decentralization reforms began** :  Fiscal Changes **Percentage of Public Expenditures Exercised by Subnational Governments before and after major decentralization reforms began** By way of comparison…:  By way of comparison… Consequences of Decentralization:  Consequences of Decentralization Common denominator: Significant change in the way different levels of government relate to each other and the emergence of subnational governments as important political actors But the functions and resources of subnational governments have grown faster than their policymaking authority and fiscal powers IV. State and Society:  IV. State and Society Has decentralization improved democratic governance? A decentralized state might be more efficient and responsive or more fragmented and unequal Local government might be more accountable and responsive (visible), allow for greater opportunities of active citizen engagement, and reconnect the state with existing forms of public deliberation (Sen) Local government might allow local elites and narrow interests to have more influence (McConnell), enshrine homogeneous groups in power (Young), or obscure policy processes (weak institutionalization) Echoes of earlier debates:  Echoes of earlier debates Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists (US) Subsidiarity vs. Welfare State (Europe) Extension of citizenship through claims on the nation-state (Marshall) vs. citizenship formation through local civic engagement (Tocqueville) These are not mutually exclusive options… Preliminary Findings… (Fragmentary and Anecdotal):  Preliminary Findings… (Fragmentary and Anecdotal) New forms of participatory politics in some municipalities (e.g., participatory planning, participatory budgeting, open councils) Transparency laws at state and local level Greater local responsiveness of political parties (e.g. local candidate selection processes) Reinforcement of authoritarian enclaves Weak institutionalization of local governments No balance of power in local governments Fragmentation of party systems Fiscal imbalances Loss of national policy coherence Inequities in resource distribution Proposed Research:  Proposed Research Research Question: Has decentralization in Mexico improved democratic governance? Two-step process: What has decentralization done to the accountability and functioning of the national government? How well do subnational governments do in constructing democratic institutions and promoting democratic citizenship? Four states/municipalities in each; emphasis on social funds (Branch 33 & 20) Comparison with the literature on other countries in Latin America Decentralization & National Democracy:  Decentralization & National Democracy What has decentralization done to: The political party system Coherence of policymaking Fiscal balance Fiscal equity Subnational Governments & Civil and Political Rights:  Subnational Governments & Civil and Political Rights Civil Rights: freedom of expression; alternative information; and associational autonomy Political Rights: elected officials; free and fair elections; inclusive suffrage; right to run for office open to all citizens (Dahl) (Note: only rights related to democratic process) Subnational Governments & Accountability:  Subnational Governments & Accountability Retrospective (vertical) accountability: regular elections, clear information on policy decisions (transparency and access to information) Horizontal accountability: meaningful division of responsibilities among branches and levels of government Participation & Deliberation in Subnational Governments:  Participation & Deliberation in Subnational Governments Do people become more engaged in local democratic institutions than national? Are there attempts to create new institutional channels that allow citizens to participate in policymaking between elections? Do these involve new ways of making collective decisions (deliberative arenas)? Thin democracy vs. strong democracy Linking existing patterns of community decision-making with the political process (history of disassociation in Latin America) Inclusion in Subnational Governments:  Inclusion in Subnational Governments Who participates in the political process often as important as the mechanism for participation (Young) Particular concern for inclusion of ethnic minorities (indigenous peoples) How has the recognition of customary authority fared? National Indicators:  National Indicators Subnational Indicators:  Subnational Indicators Relevance:  Relevance Empirical: What has decentralization done to real-world democracies in Latin America emerging from authoritarian rule (policy) Theoretical: How is democracy built; top-down through mass citizenship claims on the nation-state or bottom-up through engagement in local political communities; how does the history of center-periphery and state-society relations structure this process

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