Within the past decade, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and other Latin American countries have experimented with one form or another of political decentralization. This book considers the problems raised by these activities in Latin America and identifies the challenges yet to be encountered. Because political decentralization devolves financial responsibility to regional and local governments, it can potentially destabilize centrally established fiscal and budgetary goals. The problem, then, is how to reconcile greater institutional democratization with the fiscal rigor and responsibility demanded by the international marketplace.
This book brings together papers presented at the eighth annual meeting of the International Forum on Latin American Perspectives sponsored by the OECD Development Centre and the Inter-American Development Bank. The analyses of economists are confronted with the experiences of practitioners from Latin American countries, providing a stimulating examination of the risks and benefits decentralization holds for economic development. Of particular interest are Ricardo Hausmann’s suggested “Ten Commandments” for governing fiscal management in decentralized democracies.