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Getting Along or Going Alone: Understanding Collaboration Between Local Governments and NGOs in Bolivia

  • Jami Nelson-Nuñez (a1) and Kate Cartwright (a2)

What explains mayors’ collaboration with nongovernmental organizations in delivering public goods and services? While some successful collaborations are established, in other cases the call for NGOs to coordinate with governments goes unheeded. Collaboration minimizes the duplication of effort, maximizes information sharing, and builds capacity. Given the scholarly consensus on the importance of collaboration, we know little about it at local levels, where it may matter most. This article focuses on Bolivia, a country with deep decentralization reforms and an active NGO sector. It utilizes survey data on mayors from 2007 to provide insight into the variation in NGO–local government collaboration across a country. It argues that political context is important: mayoral turnover, greater community group engagement, and more municipal resources deter collaboration. The findings illustrate the strategic interplay between state and nonstate actors and explain the uneven geographies of partnerships in governance.

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