Decentralization and Reform in Latin America

Decentralization and Reform in Latin America

Improving Intergovernmental Relations

Edited by Giorgio Brosio and Juan P. Jiménez

Decentralisation and Reform in Latin America analyses the process of intergovernmental reform in Latin America in the last two decades and presents a number of emerging issues. These include the impacts of decentralization and the response of countries in the region to challenge such as social cohesion, interregional and interpersonal disparities, the assignment of social and infrastructure expenditure, macrofinancial shocks, fiscal rules and the sharing of natural resources revenue. The main aim of the book is to assess the effective working of decentralized arrangements and institutions, with a view of suggesting corrections and reforms where the system is not working according to expectations.

Chapter 1: Introduction: approaching recent transformations of intergovernmental relations from multiple profiles

Giorgio Brosio and Juan Pablo Jiménez

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, public finance


In most Latin American countries, since colonial independence, the shaping of intergovernmental relations has been a crucial component of the debate on the institutional structure of government and constitutional design. In the region, political reform and federalization/decentralization intersect in the political and intellectual debate with an intensity that, possibly, is not observable in other continents. This is not widely recognized outside Latin America (LA), possibly because the offences by authoritarian rulers and regimes to the federal and decentralized arrangements have been more prominent than the peculiar characteristics and the innovations introduced to them by democratic governments. There are common characteristics of the decentralization processes worldwide that are worth analyzing from a general and not just a Latin American perspective. At the same time, Latin American countries show some specificities that trace their roots, as to be expected, to the original features of the constitutional and political institutions of the continent.