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Decentralization In Asia And Latin America

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Decentralization In Asia And Latin America

Towards a Comparative Interdisciplinary Perspective

Paul Smoke , Eduardo J. Gómez , George E. Peterson

Edited by Paul Smoke, Professor and Director, International Programs, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, US, Eduardo J. Gómez, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey, US and George E. Peterson, Senior Fellow in International Public Finance, The Urban Institute, US

Studies in Fiscal Federalism and State–local Finance series
2006 400 pp Hardback 978 1 84542 030 7
ebook isbn 978 1 78195 626 7

Hardback £112.00 on-line price £100.80


Series: Studies in Fiscal Federalism and State–local Finance series

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‘Because of the broad political economy perspective taken by the chapter
authors, this volume edited by Smoke, Gómez and Peterson constitutes a
valuable addition to the ever increasing amount of literature detailing the
county-level experiences with decentralization policies. The interdisciplinary approach considers the fiscal, political, economic, and administrative aspects of the process along with sufficient history for the reader to understand the context in which the decentralization (and in some instances re-centralization) policies have been undertaken. Although the chapters focus on Asian and Latin American countries, readers with interests in other regions of the world can gain considerable insight from these experiences.’
– Larry Schroeder, Syracuse University, US

Contributors: R.R. Barr, T. Dickovick, K. Eaton, E.J. Gómez, K. Kaiser, J. Martinez-Vazquez, W. McCarten, R.M. McNab, K. O’Neill, D. Pattinasarany, G.E. Peterson, G.G. Schulze, P. Smoke, V. Vyasulu, C.G. Wescott

Further information

Although decentralization and reactions against it have become increasingly important policy trends in developing countries, the study of this nearly ubiquitous phenomenon has been largely fractured across academic disciplines, geographic regions, and the academic-practitioner divide. The contributors to this edited volume begin to cross some of these constraining, artificial boundaries. Considering decentralization from an interdisciplinary, historical, and comparative perspective, they collectively explore why it has evolved in particular ways and with varied outcomes.

In addition to taking an atypically comparative perspective, the volume highlights the importance of an historical analysis of decentralization and links this to institutional and public policy outcomes. Placing decentralization in this context illustrates why it has taken dissimilar shapes and produced varying results over time in different countries. This in turn helps to clarify the types of institutions and conditions required for the development and survival of decentralization, paving the way for more creative thinking and informed policymaking. The countries covered include: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Brazil.

Students and scholars of economics, political science and development will find the policy and theoretical discussions enlightening. The volume will also prove useful to policymakers and development institutions confronting issues of decentralization.

Full table of contents



1. Understanding Decentralization: The Need for a Broader Approach
Paul Smoke, Eduardo J. Gómez and George E. Peterson

2. The Interaction of Fiscal Decentralization and Democratic Governance
Jorge Martinez-Vazquez and Robert M. McNab

3. Decentralization’s Horizontal, Vertical and Policy-Fluctuation Mechanisms: Method for Cross-Regional Analysis
Eduardo J. Gómez

4. Cambodia’s Nascent Decentralization: From Donor Experiment to Sustainable Government System?
Paul Smoke

5. China’s Long March to Decentralization
Jorge Martinez-Vazquez

6. Democratic Decentralization in Madhya Pradesh (India): Neither Big Bang nor Gradualism
William McCarten and Vinod Vyasulu

7. Decentralization, Governance and Public Services in Indonesia
Kai Kaiser, Daan Pattinasarany and Günther G. Schulze

8. Decentralization Policy and Practice in Vietnam: 1991–2003
Clay G. Wescott

9. The Politics of Devolution in Bolivia and Other Andean Countries
Robert R. Barr

10. Who’s Tugging at the Purse Strings? The Political Economy of Intergovernmental Transfers in Argentina, Mexico and Peru
Kathleen O’Neill

11. Decentralization and Re-Centralization in Argentina and Brazil: The Menem and Cardoso Years
Kent Eaton and Tyler Dickovick

12. The Historical Institutional Genesis of Fiscal Decentralization Management: Lessons from Brazil
Eduardo J. Gómez

13. The Dynamics of Decentralization in Asia and Latin America: Towards a Comparative Interdisciplinary Perspective
Paul Smoke and Eduardo J. Gómez


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