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Decentralization as political strategy in West Africa

Boone, Catherine ORCID: 0000-0001-5324-7814 (2003) Decentralization as political strategy in West Africa. Comparative Political Studies, 36 (4). pp. 355-380. ISSN 0010-4140

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0010414003251173


Administrative and political decentralization have emerged as high developmental priorities in Africa and elsewhere. Although the possible benefits of such reforms have been well theorized, the actual politics of decentralization are not well understood. Often there are large gaps between reform rhetoric and governments'real commitment to decentralization. And often legal changes have not produced decentralization's supposed political and administrative benefits. These dynamics have been especially clear in rural Africa, where a decade of decentralizing reforms has produced generally disappointing results. When do regimes pursue state-building strategies that involve real devolution of political and administrative prerogative? This article addresses this question and proposes an answer for rural West Africa. The author employs a political economy approach to propose a model of regional variation in the political capacities and interests of rural societies and rural notables and argues that these differences shape the institution-building strategies governments choose trying to entrench their power.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2003 SAGE Publications
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2013 11:39
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:38

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