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From the Publisher"O'Neill takes on a fundamental puzzles in comparative politics — Why would national-level politicians decentralize power to subnational governments? She finds theories based on economic efficiency and crisis, external pressure from international actors, and internal ethnic heterogeneity lacking, proposes an alternative, electoral theory of decentralization, and tests it against five cases from the Andean region. The research strategy is elegant and clearly stated, and the results are impressive. This is a terrific contribution to our understanding of decentralization."
John Carey, Dartmouth College
"Why would a central government give up some of its power by promoting decentralizing reforms that shift decision-making and resources to the subnational level? In this excellent book, Kathleen O'Neill examines this important question, focusing on five Andean countries (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela). She develops an original and compelling argument that presidents will promote decentralization if their parties are skeptical they will win the next presidential election but are well poised to win executive power in some subnational districts. The research, analysis, and writing are outstanding."
Scott Mainwaring, University of Notre Dame
"Decentralizing the State explores the dynamics of decentralization in an innovative fashion. It starts from several intellectual puzzles, noting that countries do not decentralize because of international technocratic pressure to 14improve governance12 or because decentralization supposedly follows from democratization. Instead, OaNeill argues that decentralization is a function of the dynamics of domestic party politics - in particular of politiciansa electoral strategies to ensure their future political survival. The argument is powerful and the evidence is strong, and the book should serve as an important source for scholars and policy practitioners alike."
David Samuels, University of Minnesota
"This original argument, its solid grounding in qualitative and quantitative analyses, and its testing and refinement through case studies of all five of the increasingly troubled Andean countries, make this volume a major contribution to our understanding of important features of contemporary politics. It is an essential primer for politicians and policymakers seeking to understand the intersection of electoral politics and institutional design."
Donna Lee Van Cott, Tulane University
O'Neill presents a wealth of masterfully compiled information on the five cases, and by combining different research strategies (formal modelling and statistical analysis with in-depth qualitative case studies) she provides a convincing example of the merits of methodological pluralism."
Ana Maria Bejarno, University of Toronto, CJLACS/RCELAC
“O’Neill’s carefully constructed work sets a useful baseline for others who might be interested in exploring how electoral incentives intersect with other factors that determine why and when decentralization occurs.” - Daniel Ziblatt, Harvard University