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Constructing Local Democracy In Bolivia: Decentralization and Rural Development

Vogel, Martin (2010) SIMT29 20101
Department of Political Science
Master of Science in Development Studies
Graduate School
Abstract
Decentralization has in recent decades become a common concept in public policy making especially in developing countries. The concept, defined here as the transfer of functions, responsibilities and financial resources to lower levels of government, is further expected to have a positive effect on a country´s development process by reducing the inefficiency associated with a centralized form of government, by increasing the accountability in local government and by making local politics more participatory. Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in South America, implemented policies of decentralization in 1994 through the Law on Popular Participation (LPP) with the aim of improving the living standards of the Bolivian population, and... (More)
Decentralization has in recent decades become a common concept in public policy making especially in developing countries. The concept, defined here as the transfer of functions, responsibilities and financial resources to lower levels of government, is further expected to have a positive effect on a country´s development process by reducing the inefficiency associated with a centralized form of government, by increasing the accountability in local government and by making local politics more participatory. Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in South America, implemented policies of decentralization in 1994 through the Law on Popular Participation (LPP) with the aim of improving the living standards of the Bolivian population, and especially the country’s rural poor. The aim of this study has been to analyze the effects of the decentralization process in Bolivia in relation to local governance and rural development. A second aim has been to analyze the impact that the socialist MAS-government has had on the rural development process. Semi-structured interviews and analysis of secondary sources was used to obtain the information underlying this study.

The LPP was introduced under the time when neoliberal ideas dominated Bolivian politics in an attempt by the Bolivian government at the time to align itself with the pressure for democracy which has been an increasingly powerful global force in the postmodern world. The study concludes that although the implementation of decentralization reforms in Bolivia led to more participative politics and increased opportunities for rural development, the success is mitigated at the municipal level due to unequal results nationwide. The MAS government has, as a reaction to previous neoliberal politics, sought to reestablish the role of the state, which in turn threatens the local autonomy for governance. (Less)
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author
Vogel, Martin
supervisor
organization
course
SIMT29 20101
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Participation, Rural development, Decentralization, Poverty, Neoliberalism, Morales
language
English
id
1665821
date added to LUP
2010-10-06 11:10:18
date last changed
2014-05-27 12:21:25
@misc{1665821,
  abstract     = {Decentralization has in recent decades become a common concept in public policy making especially in developing countries. The concept, defined here as the transfer of functions, responsibilities and financial resources to lower levels of government, is further expected to have a positive effect on a country´s development process by reducing the inefficiency associated with a centralized form of government, by increasing the accountability in local government and by making local politics more participatory. Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in South America, implemented policies of decentralization in 1994 through the Law on Popular Participation (LPP) with the aim of improving the living standards of the Bolivian population, and especially the country’s rural poor. The aim of this study has been to analyze the effects of the decentralization process in Bolivia in relation to local governance and rural development. A second aim has been to analyze the impact that the socialist MAS-government has had on the rural development process. Semi-structured interviews and analysis of secondary sources was used to obtain the information underlying this study. 

The LPP was introduced under the time when neoliberal ideas dominated Bolivian politics in an attempt by the Bolivian government at the time to align itself with the pressure for democracy which has been an increasingly powerful global force in the postmodern world. The study concludes that although the implementation of decentralization reforms in Bolivia led to more participative politics and increased opportunities for rural development, the success is mitigated at the municipal level due to unequal results nationwide. The MAS government has, as a reaction to previous neoliberal politics, sought to reestablish the role of the state, which in turn threatens the local autonomy for governance.},
  author       = {Vogel, Martin},
  keyword      = {Participation,Rural development,Decentralization,Poverty,Neoliberalism,Morales},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Constructing Local Democracy In Bolivia: Decentralization and Rural Development},
  year         = {2010},
}