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"Social Policies, Attribution of Responsibility, and Political Alignments. A Subnational Analysis of Argentina and Brazil"

Dr. Sara Niedzwiecki

Cover of "Social Policies, Attribution of Responsibility, and Political Alignments. A Subnational Analysis of Argentina and Brazil"

This article assesses how the political context shapes policy implementation in decentralized countries. It finds that effective implementation of non-contributory social policies depends on political alignments across different territorial levels. Subnational units governed by the opposition hinder the implementation of national policies, but only if the policy carries clear attribution of responsibility. On one hand, conditional cash transfers have clear attribution of responsibility and thus, pose risks for opposition subnational governments, who, as a result, have incentives to obstruct such policies. On the other hand, in social services, attribution of responsibility is blurred, and therefore their implementation is not shaped by political alignments. By analyzing policy implementation, disaggregating social policies, and incorporating multilevel political alignments, this article contributes to theories of the welfare state and multilevel governance. The empirical foundation includes an analysis of the factors that shape the successful implementation of social policies in Argentina and Brazil through a combination of pooled time-series analysis and extensive field research.

Niedzwiecki, Sara. 2016. “Social Policies, Attribution of Responsibility, and Political Alignments. A Subnational Analysis of Argentina and Brazil.” Comparative Political Studies 49 (4): 457–498.

 Available here