Governance in the Americas: Decentralization, Democracy, and Subnational Government in Brazil, Mexico, and the USA

Governance in the Americas: Decentralization, Democracy, and Subnational Government in Brazil, Mexico, and the USA

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Governance in the Americas: Decentralization, Democracy, and Subnational Government in Brazil, Mexico, and the USA by Robert H. Wilson, Peter M. Ward, Peter K. Spink, Victoria E. Rodriguez

Governance in the Americas, a multidisciplinary volume, offers important new insights about decentralization, federalism, and democratic change in the three largest federal nations in the Americas: Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Originating in a major research project conducted by teams in each of the three countries, this study contributes significantly to our understanding of how representative and participatory democracy is being constructed at state and local levels in the recently emerged democracies of Brazil and Mexico, and is being recast and sustained in the United States. The contributors evaluate the performance of subnational governments, as these societies become more genuinely decentralized, and as new actors and managerial routines create and implement public policy. The authors challenge the criticism of “exceptionalism” in the United States, seeking instead to understand the points of convergence and divergence among the three countries as each seeks to improve the effectiveness and public accountability of its policy-making processes.

“Throughout the world, subnational levels of government are actively absorbing new responsibilities and resources; they are simultaneously under pressure to be more responsive and democratic. But where have these changes come from? How are they affecting the governance of political systems? Will citizens be better off as subnational governments assume a greater role in making decisions and managing public policies and services? This important volume, exploring decentralization and democratization at the subnational level in Mexico, Brazil, and the United States, provides deeply informative responses to these questions. It is a well-crafted ‘must’ for students of decentralization and governance.” —Merilee S. Grindle, Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University


“This book is ambitious in scope, synthesizing political patterns in three of the hemisphere’s largest countries and most complex economies, discussing a multitude of subnational actors and institutions in each of these countries, and covering broad stretches of time in each country.” —Kent Eaton, University of California, Santa Cruz


“The 21st century has brought a new interest in studying the relationship between structures of government and democracy. This book, focusing on three countries in the Americas, is a thorough and important example of the substantive consequences of recent decisions related to centralization and decentralization. It should be on the bookshelves of students of federalism and intergovernmental relations around the globe.” —Beryl A. Radin, American University

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780268044114
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Publication date: 03/01/2008
Series: Kellogg Institute Series on Democracy and Development Series
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Robert H. Wilson is Mike Hogg Professor of Urban Policy and associate dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Peter M. Ward is the C. B. Smith Sr. Centennial Chair in U.S.-Mexico Relations and professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.


Peter K. Spink is professor of public administration and government in the School of Business Administration, Getulio Vargas Foundation, São Paulo.


Victoria E. Rodríguez is vice provost and dean of graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the Ashbel Smith Professor of Public Affairs.

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