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Dissertation zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-59877
URL: http://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2012/5987/

The Effects of Decentralization on the Democratic Deepening Process : A Case Study of Bolivia

Die Auswirkungen von Dezentralisierung auf den Vertiefung der Demokratie : Den Fall Boliviens

Buitrago Bascopé, Miguel Angel

 Dokument 1.pdf (2.419 KB) 

Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch): Vertiefung der Demokratie , Dezentralisierung , Bolivien , Demokratie , Institutionen
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Decentralization , Democratic Deepening , Democracy , Bolivia , Institutions
Basisklassifikation: 89.35 , 89.32
Institut: Sozialwissenschaften
DDC-Sachgruppe: Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Nolte, Detlef (Prof. Dr.)
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 26.11.2012
Erstellungsjahr: 2012
Publikationsdatum: 19.12.2012
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: Based on the generally assumed stylized fact that decentralization leads to the deepening of democracy and the fact that throughout the 1990s Bolivia sought to explicitly deepen its democratic process by introducing a singular decentralization program denominated Popular Participation, this study seeks to better understand the impact the former has had on the latter by highlighting the effects and their manifestations as well as to explain those effects in a qualitative manner. Taking the Bolivian experience with decentralization as a case study, this dissertation looks at the country’s volatile experience with democracy and its efforts towards deepening it. The inquiry is inspired by the following paradox: even though Bolivia has taken significant steps to deepen its democratic process, the country’s democratic experience has oscillated between procedural and institutional stability and the brink of democratic collapse. In contemplating that, the study seeks to contribute to the explanation of the paradox and the interpretation of the linkages between decentralization and democracy that emerge from considering the empirical evidence as well as to contribute to the development of the theory.

With that purpose in mind, this study observed the empirical evidence during the period of implementation, from the introduction of decentralization in 1994 to a time where the process began to change in 2005. Following that logic, this case study framed the problem so as to test two theoretical propositions and to develop and test an alternative hypothesis. These hypotheses were framed by a general hypothesis, formulated in the literature as a stylized fact, mentioned above. At the same time, three sub-hypotheses were proposed which stated that these positive effects worked through the creation/reform of institutions, increased citizen political participation and the creation/expansion of citizenship.

The major finding advanced by this study is that decentralization has a very real effect on the democratic system of government of a country. This conclusion might seem redundant, but it is imperative to accentuate that decentralization is not merely a policy tool which is used to achieve some objectives a government might have. The introduction of decentralization in the case of Bolivia meant the application of a quite dynamic and complex process which was introduced through real changes in the normative framework and that those changes were aimed at influencing the democratic system. This was especially true for the Bolivian case because the decentralization efforts did not only aimed at reforming the state, such as delegating administrative tasks to sub-national levels of government or making the state more transparent and efficient, but they aimed at transforming the democratic process from a representative to a more participative and deliberative process. These effects were bound to be more complex and, for that matter, relatively unpredictable which usually takes time to realize. The Bolivian case is a critical example of this.


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