POLICY DECENTRALIZATION, SUBNATIONAL AUTONOMY AND FEDERAL CONTROL: THEORY AND EVIDENCE FROM INDIA
Decentralization theorizes to provide subnational state autonomy over public policies by reducing decision-making dependence on federal government. This thesis challenges the assumption by arguing that administrative decentralization can have no impact on policy autonomy of subnational state governments. Administrative decentralization without decision-making decentralization may result in greater subnational subordination of national government, and paradoxically increase subnational state’s public policy dependence on federal government. By deconstructing administrative and conditional fiscal decentralization, and by identifying patterns of public policymaking, this thesis examines policy decentralization in India. The thesis comprises a close analysis of policy decentralization in India, employing a methodology that espouses qualitative and quantitative methods. This study seeks to advance understanding of the institutional underpinnings of policy decentralization by evaluating Barry R. Weingast, and Daniel Treisman’s theory of decision-making decentralization. Using historical data of public policies and conditional financial transfers, the thesis argues that India as a federation exhibiting high level public policy centralization despite its decentralization rhetoric, democratic governance and pluralist political party system.
policy decentralization, subnational state policy autonomy, political party, confrontational federalism, India
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy