Why do States Decentralize? The Politics of Decentralization.
My dissertation seeks to explain the variations in decentralization we observe among states. Why, for example, are some states more decentralized than others? More importantly, why do central leaders in some states devolve power to local politicians, who may defect to pose challenges to the leader?
In answering these questions, I develop a theory of decentralization with two main components: First, information asymmetries that exist between central leaders and local politicians about voters - local politicians know more about the voters than central leaders do, and second, the fear central leaders have about local defection. I argue that central leaders undertake decentralization when information asymmetries that exist between the central leaders and local politicians become politically salient and the chances of local defection are fewer.
This information theory is tested systematically on quantitative and qualitative evidence from Indian cases. In the concluding chapter, I examine how the theory could explain decentralization in cases outside India.
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