Decentralization and Recentralization in the Developing World: Comparative Studies from Africa and Latin America

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In the 1980s and 1990s, much of the developing world experienced transitions to democracy accompanied by economic liberalization and decentralization of power to subnational governmental bodies. The process of decentralization has been studied intensively, but little attention has been paid so far to the recentralization that has occurred in some countries in the past decade. In this book, J. Tyler Dickovick seeks to illuminate how the processes of decentralization and recentralization are interrelated and what the dynamics of each is. He argues that decentralization occurs as a result of the decline in the power of the presidency, whereas recentralization occurs when the president resolves an extraordinary economic crisis. The processes of decentralization and recentralization, Dickovick further argues, have the same dynamics whether they occur in federal or unitary states. To test the theory, Dickovick compares a strong federal system, Brazil, with a weak one, South Africa, and compares these in turn with two unitary regimes, Peru and Senegal. Decentralization and Recentralization in the Developing World provides a much more nuanced understanding of when and why decentralization and recentralization happen, and what their importance is to intergovernmental shifts in power.