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Three essays on local government performance and political institutions in Colombia

Gélvez Rubio, Tatiana Andrea (2021) Three essays on local government performance and political institutions in Colombia. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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The process of decentralisation in many countries sought to empower local governments as part of a strategy to build state capacity, to reduce the distance between governments and their citizens, and to ensure increases in public goods provision. Although some countries successfully granted administrative and fiscal autonomy to subnational governments, political autonomy, especially competitive elections of mayors and councils, remains a major challenge, particularly in democracies of developing countries. How do political conditions affect the economic performance of devolved local governments? This thesis revisits the theoretical debates and provides empirical testing on the effects of executive support in legislatures, term limits, and perceptions of performance and approval as determinants of different measures of local government performance. Colombia, one of the oldest democracies in Latin America, established political and fiscal autonomy for municipal governments in the nineties and provides a relevant testbed for these relationships, with detailed election records, administrative data on public goods provision and its expenditures, and anticorruption audits in 1,122 municipalities. Survey data on citizens’ perceptions of their government is also available for some major cities. Findings in Chapter 1 suggest that for municipal governments in Colombia a larger opposition in councils improves fiscal discipline and cost efficiency in public education provision. Chapter 2 finds that increas-ing municipal council re-election rates does not affect corruption at the local level. Lastly, the analysis of citizens’ perceptions in Chapter 3 indicates that tax morale is positively affected by approval and performance of mayors in Bogotá.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1201 Latin America (General)
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Tatiana Gelvez
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2021 10:19
Last Modified: 21 Jan 2021 10:19

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