Decentralization in Asia and Latin America: A Comparative Interdisciplinary Perspective

Smoke, P., Gomez, E.J. & Peterson, G.E.
Edited with George Peterson and Eduardo Gomez. (Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar)

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.

Wagner Faculty