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Dynamic de/centralization in Brazil, 1889–2020 (Schlegel)

Dynamic de/centralization in Brazil, 1889–2020: The prevalence of punctuated centralization by Rogerio Schlegel published by Regional & Federal Studies (9/2022).

This article employs the methodology of the Why De/Centralization in Federations project to assess dynamic de/centralization with a focus on state autonomy throughout Brazil’s republican life (1889–2020). The results reveal diverse patterns for the spheres observed. Institutional autonomy had a trajectory closely associated with regime type, unlike the two other politico-institutional dimensions. Legislative authority over policies and the fiscal dimension experienced an underlying process of centralization, punctuated by waves of decentralization. The administrative dimension of policy autonomy showed the most stable pattern, oscillating around a mean that indicates the dominance of the centre. The evidence contradicts the assumption that cycles of centralization and decentralization offset each other in Brazil. It supports the hypothesis that democratic transitions with increased political autonomy of states at the initial stages lead to broader decentralization. The data also show that regime change made de/centralization moves more frequent, in transitions to or from democracy.

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