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Governance from below: decentralization and popular democracy in Bolivia

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According to national statistics, Bolivia's decentralization, initiated in 1994, has been a remarkable success. Public investment shifted from economic production to human capital formation and primary services while the distribution of resources across the nation became much more equitable as the Bolivian government became more responsive to citizens' real needs. Jean-Paul Faguet confirms these much-lauded national trends with a rigorous econometric analysis of data compiled from Bolivian municipalities, territories, and citizens over two decades. Yet, his case studies of nine municipal governments reveal that decentralization did not uniformly improve their responsiveness and accountability. Faguet explains this variation by pointing to the relative openness and competiveness of local politics and, specifically, to the interactions between civic organizations and private interests. He concludes with a discussion of the potential benefits of decentralization and recommendations, based on Bolivia's experience, for structuring a successful reform program.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41227/

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