GOVERNMENT: Confronting the Center: Subnational Policy Challenges in Latin America


In Latin America’s past, subnational actors like mayors and governors rarely dared to disagree with the policy orientation of the national government because it was the national government that appointed them to their positions. As a result, when the policy pendulum swung back and forth between liberalism and statism over the course of the 20th century, one important element of continuity was the insignificance of subnational officials, who did not meaningfully influence the ideological debate over the market — even as this debate triggered frequent regime changes, extensive social mobilization, and in some cases, high levels of political violence. So long as the center reserved the right to appoint and dismiss subnational officials, these actors were largely sidelined from Latin America’s seemingly endless struggles over the market.

Kent Eaton
Publication date: 
August 17, 2016
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article