Making Decentralisation Work in Chile

Towards Stronger Municipalities

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This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the challenges confronting Chile’s centralised growth model and recommendations towards developing a more integrated territorial approach, capable of mobilising regional productivity catch-up potential in order to strengthen the role of regions and municipalities.

The Chilean government has launched an ambitious decentralisation agenda, aimed at empowering municipalities by providing them with the legitimacy, financial resources, human capacities and tools required to improve their autonomy and performance. This study seeks to assist the government by covering several dimensions, looking at municipal responsibilities, fiscal and human resources, equalisation mechanisms, local public service performance,  citizen participation, and co-ordination mechanisms across levels of government.


The Chilean municipalities in the evolving national multi-governance system

This chapter provides an overview of Chile’s multi-level governance system, including its organisation, and of the decentralisation process in a historical perspective. It ends with an analysis of the role of municipalities in a changing institutional system, underscoring the challenge to transform Chilean municipalities from being mainly “public service providers” to genuine “local governments”. It is important to acknowledge the diversity of municipal realities and to reconsider the current uniformity principle by encouraging more asymmetrical approaches to local development.


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