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Has Decentralization Had an Important Effect on the Development of the Regions? The Peruvian Case 2002-2015

Juan Arroyo Laguna

The article summarizes a preliminary study on the effect of decentralization on regional development in Peru. To this end, 61 indicators were compared from 2002, when the process started, until 2015. These indicators were grouped into four types of capital: territorial, productive, human and institutional, the latter related to the capacities of regional governments. For each capital, an index and a ranking of regions were formulated, according to the relative position that each region occupied based on its advance or regression between the baseline and the last year studied. Subsequently, comparisons and correlations were made between the indicators, to find, with support in the data and literature, explanations for variations and performances. The results indicate that the regions have had a notable territorial and productive growth, but this has been medium in human capital, with notable deficits in relation to institutional capital. All indicators of the first three types of capital grew, albeit with inequalities, which was expressed in the variations in their positions in the three rankings that were constructed. The exception was the indicators of institutional capital, which had a year-on-year variation without accumulation in the period 2002-2015, with successive setbacks and advances. Only from 2008 did the regional governments begin to achieve some learning but in administrative aspects. In general, they show that they have learned something as contractors, but very little as social providers, being more micro-promoters of developments than macro-sponsors of the entrepreneurship of their populations and territories. The data also reveals a blockade to generate a healthy institutional framework. In this way, the decisive factors in the progress have been exogenous factors, rather than the actions of the regional governments. Regions that have turned their geographical or historical comparative advantages into competitive advantages, with national support, have prospered further. This demonstrates that the multilevel State in Peru has not yet succeeded: the country has made progress in decentralizing, but not in decentralized functioning. The study, by preliminary, opens the need for a research program.

Key words: Decentralization; Regional Development; Regions; Capital; Social Capital; Peru

 
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