Going Local: Decentralization, Democratization, and the by Merilee S. Grindle

By Merilee S. Grindle

Many constructing international locations have a historical past of hugely centralized governments. because the past due Eighties, quite a few those governments have brought decentralization to extend democracy and increase prone, specially in small groups faraway from capital towns. In Going Local, an unheard of research of the consequences of decentralization on thirty Mexican municipalities, Merilee Grindle describes how neighborhood governments reply after they are assigned new obligations and assets lower than decentralization regulations. She explains why decentralization results in larger neighborhood governments in a few cases--and why it fails to in others.

Combining quantitative and qualitative tools, Grindle examines info according to a random pattern of Mexican municipalities--and ventures into city halls to stick with public officers as they search to control a number of projects amid conflicting pressures and new expectancies. Decentralization, she discovers, is a double-edged sword. whereas it permits public leaders to make major reforms speedy, institutional weaknesses undermine the sturdiness of switch, and legacies of the previous proceed to impact how public difficulties are addressed. voters take part, yet they're extra profitable at extracting assets from govt than in preserving neighborhood officers and corporations liable for their activities. the advantages of decentralization frequently expected by way of economists, political scientists, and administration experts aren't inevitable, she argues. really, they're strongly encouraged via the standard of neighborhood management and politics.

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41 In such contexts, it is more likely that researchers will find a significant number of relatively welleducated voters; local media that provide information on government and incumbent performance, party platforms, and candidate promises; sufficient resources to allow incumbents to follow up on at least some electoral promises; and greater administrative capacity in city hall to be responsive. While such studies are often informative, it is difficult to judge their generalizability. My study is based on a sample of smaller municipalities and comparative analysis across a range of states.

Further reforms to Article 115 of the constitution, put into effect in 2000, strengthened the regulatory role of local governments and gave them the right to impose property taxes on parastatal organizations and to assess property values. It also recognized the municipalities as an “order of government,” not just of administration, providing them with increased policymaking autonomy. Another important part of Zedillo’s New Federalism included initiatives to strengthen local government and increase the capacity of state governments to contribute to the up-grading of municipalities.

Importantly, and as the final chapter argues, this dynamic suggests that the four hypotheses do not stand in isolation from each other but are in fact closely interconnected. Public sector entrepreneurship emerged as a critically important factor in explaining what local governments were doing and how well they were doing it, but this in turn was made possible by the expansion of opportunities for competitive elections in a more democratic context and was pursued through a considerable amount of capacity building and citizen demand making.

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