Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Decentralizing the State

Decentralizing the State
Elections, Parties, and Local Power in the Andes

$88.00 (P)

  • Date Published: June 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521846943

$ 88.00 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Paperback, eBook

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Decentralization is one of the most dramatic political and economic trends in the last few decades. This book seeks to address its causes, exploring decentralizing reforms in Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. It probes questions of where and why decentralization is adopted, what form it is likely to take in different contexts, and how it is likely to evolve over time. The book develops a theory linking decentralization's adoption to the electoral concerns of political parties: decentralization represents a desirable strategy for parties whose support at subnational levels appears more secure than their prospects in national elections.

    • Formal model of decentralization
    • In-depth empirical analysis of decentralization in five countries
    • Extensive coverage of a global political trend with extensions to related types of reform
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "O'Neill takes on a fundamental puzzles in comparative politics -- Why would national-level politicians decentralize power to subnational governments? She finds theories based on economic efficiency and crisis, external pressure from international actors, and internal ethnic heterogeneity lacking, proposes an alternative, electoral theory of decentralization, and tests it against five cases from the Andean region. The research strategy is elegant and clearly stated, and the results are impressive. This is a terrific contribution to our understanding of decentralization."
    John Carey, Dartmouth College

    "Why would a central government give up some of its power by promoting decentralizing reforms that shift decision-making and resources to the subnational level? In this excellent book, Kathleen O'Neill examines this important question, focusing on five Andean countries (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela). She develops an original and compelling argument that presidents will promote decentralization if their parties are skeptical they will win the next presidential election but are well poised to win executive power in some subnational districts. The research, analysis, and writing are outstanding."
    Scott Mainwaring, University of Notre Dame

    "Decentralizing the State explores the dynamics of decentralization in an innovative fashion. It starts from several intellectual puzzles, noting that countries do not decentralize because of international technocratic pressure to 14improve governance12 or because decentralization supposedly follows from democratization. Instead, OaNeill argues that decentralization is a function of the dynamics of domestic party politics - in particular of politiciansa electoral strategies to ensure their future political survival. The argument is powerful and the evidence is strong, and the book should serve as an important source for scholars and policy practitioners alike."
    David Samuels, University of Minnesota

    "This original argument, its solid grounding in qualitative and quantitative analyses, and its testing and refinement through case studies of all five of the increasingly troubled Andean countries, make this volume a major contribution to our understanding of important features of contemporary politics. It is an essential primer for politicians and policymakers seeking to understand the intersection of electoral politics and institutional design."
    Donna Lee Van Cott, Tulane University

    O'Neill presents a wealth of masterfully compiled information on the five cases, and by combining different research strategies (formal modelling and statistical analysis with in-depth qualitative case studies) she provides a convincing example of the merits of methodological pluralism."
    Ana Maria Bejarno, University of Toronto, CJLACS/RCELAC

    “O’Neill’s carefully constructed work sets a useful baseline for others who might be interested in exploring how electoral incentives intersect with other factors that determine why and when decentralization occurs.” - Daniel Ziblatt, Harvard University

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2005
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521846943
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 37 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Electoral Theory and Comparative Evidence:
    1. Introduction
    2. A political theory of decentralization
    3. Decentralization in comparative perspective
    Part II. In-Depth Country Studies:
    4. The Colombian experience
    5. The Bolivian experience
    6. Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela
    Part III. Comparisons, Conclusions, and Extensions:
    7. Comparisons, conclusions, and extensions
    8. Afterword.

  • Author

    Kathleen O'Neill, Cornell University, New York

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.