What explains when and to what extent central governments implement decentralization? By centering on the strategic incentives that follow from the particular configuration of competitiveness and party system coherence, we propose a theory that can begin to explain the divergent outcomes in the many forms of decentralization initiated across Africa. This explanation for the extent to which robust decentralization is implemented over time suggests two counter-intuitive findings. First, authoritarian regimes may decentralize further than democratic ones, given the incentives to the hegemonic party where such reforms are initiated. Second, highly fragmented and deeply localized polities may decentralize most minimally, even where there is a broad consensus about the desirability of such reforms. We provide a first test of the theory through a comparative analysis of over a dozen countries, focusing on process tracing for Ethiopia, Botswana, Ghana, and Benin.
- Political parties
- Public policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations