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A Natural Experiment in Political Decentralization: Local Institutions and Citizens' Political Engagement in Uruguay

  • Fernando Rosenblatt (a1), Germán Bidegain (a2), Felipe Monestier (a3) and Rafael Piñeiro Rodríguez (a4)

The potential democratizing effect of political decentralization reforms has been a matter of substantial theoretical and empirical debate. This article analyzes the effect of local democratic institution building on the political attitudes and behavior of citizens living in small towns in Uruguay. More specifically, using a natural experiment design, this research seeks to establish the causal impact of recently established elections of local authorities on individuals' political engagement. It develops a comparative case study analyzing the consequences of this institutional innovation in two towns. It shows that individuals from the town where citizens have the opportunity to elect their local authorities have more positive attitudes toward politics than those from the town without such elections.

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Latin American Politics and Society
  • ISSN: 1531-426X
  • EISSN: 1548-2456
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