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Revista de Sociologia e Política

Print version ISSN 0104-4478


ALMEIDA, Maria Hermínia Tavares de. Decentralization and centralization in a federal system: the case of democratic Brazil.Translated byMeryl Adelman. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2006, vol.1Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 0104-4478.

This paper discusses the contradictory impulses towards decentralization and centralization in Brazil during the 1990s and early 2000s. After discussing the analytical issues related to the specific nature of decentralization in federal systems, the paper examines two sets of policy issues: those regulating the fiscal relations between national and sub-national governments and those redefining responsibilities for social services provision (basic education, health care, social assistance). Against conventional academic wisdom, it sustains that although there has been some re-centralization of fiscal decisions and of targeted income transfer programs, a clear re-centralization tendency cannot be siad to exist. Decentralization and centralization trends coexist propelled by different forces, with different motives and different outcomes.

Keywords : centralization; de-centralization; democratization; fiscal relations; social welfares.

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