The uneven reach of decentralization: A case study among indigenous peoples in the Bolivian Amazon

Victoria Reyes-García, Vincent Vadez, Jorge Aragón, Tomas Huanca, Pamela Jagger

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9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Decentralization reforms aim at strengthening democracy by promoting political participation among citizens. Research shows (1) that information is a prerequisite for political participation and (2) that people face different private costs in acquiring information. Here we combine the two lines of research and ask: what private costs hamper the acquisition of information on decentralization? For the analysis, we use data from an indigenous population of lowland Bolivia. We surveyed 319 Tsimane' adults in 12 villages. We found that nine years after the passage of the decentralization laws, knowledge about those reforms had only partially reached the Tsimane'. People who live closer to municipal towns, had more schooling, and participated in the market economy were more aware of decentralization. Political authorities trying to spread the potential benefits of decentralization should address the structural limitations of the dissemination of political knowledge. © The Author(s) 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-243
JournalInternational Political Science Review
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Bolivia
  • Decentralization
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Information costs
  • Popular participation

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