Rethinking the Political Economy of Decentralization: How Elections and Parties Shape the Provision of Local Public Goods

63 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2012

See all articles by Raul Ponce-Rodriguez

Raul Ponce-Rodriguez

Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez

Charles R. Hankla

Georgia State University

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Eunice Heredia-Ortiz

Development Alternatives, Inc.

Date Written: August 1, 2012

Abstract

Decentralization is among the most important global trends of the new century, yet there is still no consensus on how to design political institutions to realize its benefits. In this paper, we investigate the political conditions under which decentralization will improve the delivery of public goods. We begin by incorporating insights from political science and economics into a rigorous and formal extension of the “decentralization theorem”. Our extension assumes inter-jurisdictional spillovers and suggests that the interaction of democratic decentralization (popularly elected sub-national governments) and party centralization (the power of national party leaders over subnational office-seekers) will produce the best outcomes for public service delivery. To test this argument empirically, we make use of a new dataset of sub-national political institutions created for this project. Our analyses, which allow us to examine educational outcomes in more than 125 countries across more than 25 years, provide support for our theoretical expectations.

Suggested Citation

Ponce-Rodriguez, Raul and Hankla, Charles R. and Martinez-Vazquez, Jorge and Heredia-Ortiz, Eunice, Rethinking the Political Economy of Decentralization: How Elections and Parties Shape the Provision of Local Public Goods (August 1, 2012). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 12-32, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2188613 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2188613

Raul Ponce-Rodriguez

Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez ( email )

Calle Henry Dunant
Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua 32310
Mexico

Charles R. Hankla

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

Jorge Martinez-Vazquez (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

University Plaza
PO Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
404-651-3990 (Phone)
404-651-3996 (Fax)

Eunice Heredia-Ortiz

Development Alternatives, Inc. ( email )

United States

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