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Decentralization and Popular Democracy

Governance from Below in Bolivia
Jean-Paul Faguet
Faguet identifies the factors that determine the outcomes of national decentralization on the local level

Description

Bolivia decentralized in an effort to deepen democracy, improve public services, and make government more accountable. Unlike many countries, Bolivia succeeded. Over the past generation, public investment shifted dramatically toward primary services and resource distribution became far more equitable, partly due to the creation of new local governments. Many municipalities responded to decentralization with transparent, accountable government, yet others suffered ineptitude, corruption, or both. Why? Jean-Paul Faguet combines broad econometric data with deep qualitative evidence to investigate the social underpinnings of governance. He shows how the interaction of civic groups and business interests determines the quality of local decision making.

In order to understand decentralization, Faguet argues, we must understand governance from the ground up. Drawing on his findings, he offers an evaluation of the potential benefits of decentralization and recommendations for structuring successful reform.

"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 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

"The Bolivian experience is striking and this book will easily be the definitive work on the topic."
—Dilip Mookherjee, Boston University

Jacket image: © Hemera/Thinkstock

Jean-Paul Faguet is Reader in the Political Economy of Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Chair of the Decentralization Task Force of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University.

Visit the author's website

Praise / Awards

  • "Given the growing number of countries that have been shifting funding from central to local governments, this case study of Bolivia, based on solid methodology, is an important contribution to the literature."
    —S.L. Rozman, CHOICE
  • "This is an excellent piece that provides enough material to change our understanding of the impact of decentralization on public policy, not just in Latin America, but more generally. It will surely form the basis for additional academic studies of decentralization around the world, and hopefully its insights will also inform those interested in the practice of decentralization."
    —Martin Ardanaz, Publius: The Journal of Federalism
  • Winner, UK Political Studies Association W.J.M Mackenzie Book Prize, 2013

Look Inside

Supplemental Materials

Bonus Web Chapter: The Micropolitical Foundations of Government in Seven Bolivian Municipalities (PDF) 

Chapter 1: Bonus Figure 3 (PDF)


Audio Clips

VIACHA
 

District 7, Interview Clip 1
Date: 11 December 2009
Location: District 7, Viacha
Individuals: Mauricio Mamani, Oscar Soto, Guzman Callisaya, Hector Mayta, Franklin Merlo, Saturnino Laguna, and Nelson Murillo, Asst. Mayor, OC member, FEJUVE President, Municipal Superintendent, Municipal technician, FEJUVE transport officer, and FEJUVE education and culture secretary.
Topic:  How and why Viacha's local government has improved;  District 7's most urgent needs
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 7:34
Page reference:  p.241

District 7, Interview Clip 2
Date: 11 December 2009
Location: District 7, Viacha
Individuals: Mauricio Mamani, Oscar Soto, Guzman Callisaya, Hector Mayta, Franklin Merlo, Saturnino Laguna, and Nelson Murillo, Asst. Mayor, OC member, FEJUVE President, Municipal Superintendent, Municipal technician, FEJUVE transport officer, and FEJUVE education and culture secretary.
Topic:  How politics has changed in Viacha: bottom-up instead of top-down.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 3:52

District 7, Interview Clip 3 
Date: 11 December 2009
Location: District 7, Viacha
Individuals: Mauricio Mamani, Oscar Soto, Guzman Callisaya, Hector Mayta, Franklin Merlo, Saturnino Laguna, and Nelson Murillo, Asst. Mayor, OC member, FEJUVE President, Municipal Superintendent, Municipal technician, FEJUVE transport officer, and FEJUVE education and culture secretary.
Topic:  How good local government works and why it is likely to persist in Viacha.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 6:22 N.B. "POA" = Plan Annual Operativo

District 7, Interview Clip 4
Date: 11 December 2009
Location: District 7, Viacha
Individuals: Mauricio Mamani, Oscar Soto, Guzman Callisaya, Hector Mayta, Franklin Merlo, Saturnino Laguna, and Nelson Murillo, Asst. Mayor, OC member, FEJUVE President, Municipal Superintendent, Municipal technician, FEJUVE transport officer, and FEJUVE education and culture secretary.
Topic:  Who's "the boss" in Viacha?  Now the people run the show.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 3:17
Page reference:  p.250

Hernán Arroyo Vela, Interview Clip 1
Date: 11 December 2009
Location: Viacha's town hall
Individuals: Hernán Arroyo Vela, President of the Municipal Council.
Topic:  How the beer company captured and distorted local politics in the past.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 1:28

Hernán Arroyo Vela, Interview Clip 2
Date: 11 December 2009
Location: Viacha's town hall
Individuals: Hernán Arroyo Vela, President of the Municipal Council.
Topic:  Social conflict created by bad governance in 2004; local society rose up and toppled another corrupt mayor.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 2:08
Page reference:  p.243

Yajaira Barriga, Interview Clip 1
Date: 10 December 2009
Location: Viacha
Individuals: Yajaira Barriga, Head of CIPCA's Viacha office.
Topic:  The history of bad governments and political instability in Viacha, 1995-2004.  Good governance practices now in place.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 6:49

Yajaira Barriga, Interview Clip 2
Date: 10 December 2009
Location: Viacha
Individuals: Yajaira Barriga, Head of CIPCA's Viacha office.
Topic:  Social conflicts in Viacha; the school breakfast affair of 2004; municipal attempts to spur microenterprise development.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 3:12

Yajaira Barriga, Interview Clip 3
Date: 10 December 2009
Location: Viacha
Individuals: Yajaira Barriga, Head of CIPCA's Viacha office.
Topic:  Who's "the boss" in Viacha?  Rural peasants run the show now.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 3:19 N.B. "FEJUVE" = Federación de Juntas Vecinales


CHARAGUA

Claudio López Miguel, Interview Clip 1
Date: 18 December 2009
Location: Charagua's town hall
Individuals: Claudio López Miguel, mayor.
Topic:  The participative budgeting system used in Charagua.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 4:23

Claudio López Miguel, Interview Clip 2
Date: 18 December 2009
Location: Charagua's town hall
Individuals: Claudio López Miguel, mayor.
Topic:  Discrimination Guaraníes suffered in the past.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 7:19

Claudio López Miguel, Interview Clip 3
Date: 18 December 2009
Location: Charagua's town hall
Individuals: Claudio López Miguel, mayor.
Topic:  Who's "the boss" in Charagua?
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 2:01
Page reference: p.262

José Núñez, Interview Clip 1
Date: 15 December 2009
Location: Charagua's town hall
Individuals: José Núñez, oversight committee president.
Topic:  The internal decentralization of Charagua's local government; how civic organizations affect municipal policy.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 2:19
Page reference:  p.258

José Núñez, Interview Clip 2
Date: 15 December 2009
Location: Charagua's town hall
Individuals: José Núñez, oversight committee president.
Topic:  Municipal attempts to spur local businesses and job creation.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 1:11

CIPCA, Interview Clip 1
Date: 16 December 2009
Location: Charagua
Individuals: Marcelo Arandia Alarcón and Santiago Puerta, regional support officer and technician of CIPCA (NGO).
Topic:  How local government in Charagua has improved through more consultation and participation.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 7:11
Page reference: p.258

CIPCA, Interview Clip 2
Date: 16 December 2009
Location: Charagua
Individuals: Marcelo Arandia Alarcón and Santiago Puerta, regional support officer and technician of CIPCA (NGO).
Topic:  How local politics has changed since 1996.
Language: Spanish
Length of audio clip: 6:05
Page reference: p.265

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 372pp.
  • 32 figures, 18 tables, 1 map.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11819-9

Add Hardcover of 'Decentralization and Popular Democracy' to Cart
  • $85.00 U.S.
  • $85.00 CAN

  • Paper
  • 2013
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03544-1

Add Paper of 'Decentralization and Popular Democracy' to Cart
  • $35.00 U.S.
  • $35.00 CAN


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Keywords

  • Decentralization, Democracy, Bolivia, Public investment, Human capital, Local government, Government participation, Viacha, Charagua, Local politics, Public investment, Social capital, Latin America

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