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Can Developing Countries Both Decentralize and Depoliticize Urban Water Services? Evaluating the Legacy of the 1990s Reform Wave

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  • Herrera, Veronica
  • Post, Alison E.

Abstract

Over the past three decades, decentralization and reforms designed to insulate service providers from interference by elected officials (“insulating reforms”), such as corporatization and privatization, swept through the urban water and sanitation sector in developing countries. We argue that their rationales were contradictory; decentralization was intended to increase citizen participation and influence, whereas corporatization and privatization were intended to depoliticize management. We document the widespread promotion and adoption of these reforms, and conclude that decentralization made it difficult to insulate service provision in practice. We argue that studying how institutional reforms interact with one another can help explain reform consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Herrera, Veronica & Post, Alison E., 2014. "Can Developing Countries Both Decentralize and Depoliticize Urban Water Services? Evaluating the Legacy of the 1990s Reform Wave," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 621-641.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:64:y:2014:i:c:p:621-641
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.06.026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Post, Alison E. & Murillo, María Victoria, 2016. "How Investor Portfolios Shape Regulatory Outcomes: Privatized Infrastructure After Crises," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 328-345.
    2. McDonald, David A., 2016. "To corporatize or not to corporatize (and if so, how?)," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 107-114.
    3. Carlitz, Ruth D., 2017. "Money Flows, Water Trickles: Understanding Patterns of Decentralized Water Provision in Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 16-30.
    4. repec:nap:nijbmr:2017:p:31-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:1:p:108-:d:125404 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Camos Daurella,Daniel & Estache,Antonio, 2017. "Regulating water and sanitation network services accounting for institutional and informational constraints," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8149, The World Bank.
    7. Marson, Marta & Savin, Ivan, 2015. "Ensuring Sustainable Access to Drinking Water in Sub Saharan Africa: Conflict Between Financial and Social Objectives," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 26-39.

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