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Determinants of decentralization in Elementary Education: evidence from Brazil using a panel of municipalities

Grant number: 11/13661-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2012
Effective date (End): February 28, 2014
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Economics - Quantitative Methods Applied to Economics
Principal researcher:Enlinson Henrique Carvalho de Mattos
Grantee:Ana Carolina Pereira Zoghbi
Home Institution: Escola de Economia de São Paulo (EESP). Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/03595-7 - Political institutions and public spending: a comparative study of Brazilian states, AP.TEM

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to verify which factors are decisive for the decentralization of the Education. In Brazil, this process was influenced by the central government (through the 1988 Constitution and FUNDEF), but was largely a decision of state and local governments. The way decentralization occurred in Brazil yield local leaders greater control over administrate resources,allowing them to offer public goods of better quality. This produces greater political support from the voters. On the other hand, this gain of political power by the mayors may be viewed with sympathy or not depending on the local political relations, i.e. if the mayor has a majority in the legislative or not, if they belong to the same party as their governor, among other factors. Accordingly, the first econometric exercise will examine how intergovernmental political relations and political context ofthe municipalities influenced the level of education decentralization. In the literature on decentralization, the spatial aspect is also crucial. However, even though present in the field of ideas, this aspect is largely neglected by the empirical works. The decision to decentralize or not, in the end, depends on how nearby cities interact, i.e. if there is spillover in consumption. There may be another form of spillover, related to information. In a context in which voters observe public spending (and taxes) of neighboring counties and use this information as a comparative basis to determine the quality of their own city managers, the mayor who have better results compared to those of neighboring counties is considered good and thus more likely to be re-elected. As the decentralization process allowed mayors to increase the size and the control over their budgets, one can expect a positive correlation among local decisions for the amount of decentralization. This second econometric exercise will comprise exactly this spatial effect that may have influenced the process of decentralization. (AU)

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