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The Architecture of Government
Rethinking Political Decentralization

$32.99 (P)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: July 2007
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521693820

$ 32.99 (P)
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  • Since the days of Montesquieu and Jefferson, political decentralization has been seen as a force for better government and economic performance. It is thought to bring government 'closer to the people', nurture civic virtue, protect liberty, exploit local information, stimulate policy innovation, and alleviate ethnic tensions. Inspired by such arguments, and generously funded by the major development agencies, countries across the globe have been racing to devolve power to local governments. This book re-examines the arguments that underlie the modern faith in decentralization. Using logical analysis and formal modeling, and appealing to numerous examples, it shows that most are based on vague intuitions or partial views that do not withstand scrutiny. A review of empirical studies of decentralization finds these as inconclusive and mutually contradictory as the theories they set out to test.

    • Politically topical and provocative
    • Based on rigorous analysis
    • Discusses a topic of crucial importance to countries throughout the world
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This superb book deconstructs political decentralization. Shifting power from central to local governments is widely touted as the key instrument for the creation of effective, responsive government. The evidence does not support these claims, argues Treisman. Using game theory to probe the logic of arguments, and empirical research to test them, Treisman challenges the assumptions that underlie much of the common wisdom being disseminated to guide the design of public institutions. This book needs to be read by policy makers and researchers, from the World Bank to constitution writers and politically engaged citizens the world around."
    Peter Gourevitch, University of California, San Diego

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2007
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521693820
    • length: 348 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.474kg
    • contains: 4 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The political process
    3. Administrative efficiency
    4. Competition among governments
    5. Fiscal policy and redistribution
    6. Fiscal coordination and incentives
    7. Citizens and government
    8. Checks, balances, and freedom
    9. Acquiring and using knowledge
    10. Ethnic conflict and secession
    11. Data to the rescue?
    12. Conclusion: rethinking decentralization.

  • Author

    Daniel Treisman, University of California, Los Angeles
    Daniel Treisman is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of After the Deluge: Regional Crises and Political Consolidation in Russia (1999), and (with Andrei Shleifer) Without a Map: Political Tactics and Economic Reform in Russia (2000). A recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Hoover Institution, and the Smith Richardson Foundation, he has published broadly in academic journals including the American Political Science Review, the American Economic Review, the British Journal of Political Science, and World Politics, as well as policy journals such as Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy. In 2007–8, Treisman will serve as Lead Editor of the American Political Science Review.

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