The Quiet Revolution: Decentralization and the Rise of Political Participation in Latin American Cities / Edition 1

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As if by unseen signal toward the end of the 1980s, many Latin American governments suddenly transferred money and decision-making power to local municipalities. At the same time, national authorities allowed local governments to choose their leaders in free and open elections. The resulting revolution has been profound in its reach and stunning in the silent shift of power from central to local authorities.

The Quiet Revolution traces the growth and effects of decentralization and democratization in Latin America throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Based on first-hand accounts from mayors, local officials, and neighborhood leaders, Tim Campbell focuses on those cities and towns that made the most of their new intergovernmental arrangements. He further argues that the reforms, which are vital to long-term sustainable growth in the region, are in danger of being smothered by current policy responses from national and international institutions. Campbell's research, conducted over a ten-year span, counters conventional wisdom about the role of development banks in the process of state reform and offers timely insights into similar events taking place in other parts of the world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Democratization is not the only great political change to have swept Latin America in the last two decades. Tim Campbell’s overview shows the equal significance of decentralization and the promise and challenges facing the region’s cities."
—Stephan Haggard, University of California, San Diego

“Useful and innovative. . . . As a primer on the topic, it is a work that academics and policymakers will ignore at their peril.”
International Review of Social History

“An important book.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822957966
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2003
  • Series: Pitt Latin American Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Campbell manages the urban program in the World Bank Institute. From 1995–1997 he served as a member of the Advisory Group in Latin America and the Caribbean Region. Before joining the Institute he served as Advisor in Urban Development working in Eastern Europe, South Asia, and East Asia. He lived in Costa Rica for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I The Backdrop of Change and Overview of Reform
1 Overview 3
2 The Backdrop to Revolution and the Seeds of Reform 13
Pt. II National Strategies and Local Response
3 Unlikely Pioneers 31
4 National Decentralization Strategies 54
Pt. III Dimensions of Reform
5 Political Participation and Local Government: Fiscal Choice and Expressing Voice 79
6 Neighborhood Works, Poverty and the Environment 99
7 Finances: Participation in the New Fiscal Bargain 119
Pt. IV Prospects for Sustained Reform
8 Creating a New Model of Government: Contests, Competition, and Civil Markets 145
9 Banking on Decentralization in Continents of Cities: Looking Back on Assistance and Looking Foreword to Reform 162
Notes 183
References 191
Index 201
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