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A Comparative Analysis of Associations of Governors in Argentina and Mexico
Unformatted Document Text:  Paper presented at the MPSA 2008 Conference, 3-6 Apr 2008 Preliminary version Facing the federal government together A comparative analysis of the associations of governors in Argentina and Mexico. Laura Flamand and Juan Olmeda ∗ ∗∗ ∗ ABSTRACT Since the eighties, most federal countries in Latin America have undergone extensive fiscal, political, and administrative decentralization. While the dynamics shaping decentralization have been extensively analyzed (Falleti 2005, Montero and Samuels 2004), considerably less attention has been devoted to understand how intergovernmental relations have been transformed as a result of these reconfigurations. In particular, both in Argentina and in Mexico, the democratization processes have considerably increased the relevance of state governments in the federal system (indeed, they have progressively become fundamental for the implementation of diverse policies). Lately, governors have formed associations that have shielded states from federal infringement, and have bestowed on them bargain prowess with federal officials, especially in the fiscal realm. As collective actors, governors have in fact been successful in bargaining with the federal government in order to secure benefits that under different circumstances (i.e. negotiating individually) would have been extremely difficult to achieve. The creation of an association, however, is costly (both in terms of time and resources), and the benefits that the associations may generate, furthermore, may not be immediately evident. Thus, the central question in this work is what prompts the creation of these associations and what helps to ensure their persistence through time? With interviews and archival work, in this paper, we study the origins and activities of both the Federal Front of Governors (Argentina) and the National Conference of Governors (Mexico). We focus in particular on (i) the process that led to the creation of the associations, (ii) by what means governors have maintained cooperation and (iii) the main political and policy achievements derived from the associations. Our preliminary findings are, first, that governors from political parties in opposition to that of the president are in much greater need of these associations than his partisans and, second, that despite their short history, these associations have achieved much greater access to decision makers and public recognition, as well as considerable influence in policy-making, especially in the fiscal realm. In federal systems with established democracies, subnational governments have variously, both in manner and in degree, participated in the design and implementation of federal policies. In the United States, especially since the sixties, state and local governments have become active participants in the formulation of public policies, in particular, through associations such as the National Association of Governors (Camissa 1995; Dinan 1997). Throughout the nineties, however, subnational officials in the U.S. concluded that their interests were not adequately represented in national policymaking ∗ Laura Flamand is research professor at the Department of Government and Public Administration Studies, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (México). Juan Olmeda is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. Laura Flamand gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology (SEP-2004-C01-47015) and the research assistance of Edgar Campos. All errors are, of course, responsibility of the authors.

Authors: Flamand, Laura. and Juan, Olmeda.
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Paper presented at the MPSA 2008 Conference, 3-6 Apr 2008
Preliminary version
Facing the federal government together
A comparative analysis of the associations of governors in Argentina and Mexico.

Laura Flamand and Juan Olmeda

ABSTRACT
Since the eighties, most federal countries in Latin America have undergone extensive fiscal, political, and
administrative decentralization. While the dynamics shaping decentralization have been extensively
analyzed (Falleti 2005, Montero and Samuels 2004), considerably less attention has been devoted to
understand how intergovernmental relations have been transformed as a result of these reconfigurations.
In particular, both in Argentina and in Mexico, the democratization processes have considerably increased
the relevance of state governments in the federal system (indeed, they have progressively become
fundamental for the implementation of diverse policies). Lately, governors have formed associations that
have shielded states from federal infringement, and have bestowed on them bargain prowess with federal
officials, especially in the fiscal realm. As collective actors, governors have in fact been successful in
bargaining with the federal government in order to secure benefits that under different circumstances (i.e.
negotiating individually) would have been extremely difficult to achieve. The creation of an association,
however, is costly (both in terms of time and resources), and the benefits that the associations may
generate, furthermore, may not be immediately evident. Thus, the central question in this work is what
prompts the creation of these associations and what helps to ensure their persistence through time?
With interviews and archival work, in this paper, we study the origins and activities of both the Federal
Front of Governors (Argentina) and the National Conference of Governors (Mexico). We focus in particular
on (i) the process that led to the creation of the associations, (ii) by what means governors have maintained
cooperation and (iii) the main political and policy achievements derived from the associations. Our
preliminary findings are, first, that governors from political parties in opposition to that of the president are
in much greater need of these associations than his partisans and, second, that despite their short history,
these associations have achieved much greater access to decision makers and public recognition, as well as
considerable influence in policy-making, especially in the fiscal realm.
In federal systems with established democracies, subnational governments have
variously, both in manner and in degree, participated in the design and implementation
of federal policies. In the United States, especially since the sixties, state and local
governments have become active participants in the formulation of public policies, in
particular, through associations such as the National Association of Governors (Camissa
1995; Dinan 1997). Throughout the nineties, however, subnational officials in the U.S.
concluded that their interests were not adequately represented in national policymaking
Laura Flamand is research professor at the Department of Government and Public Administration Studies, El Colegio
de la Frontera Norte (México). Juan Olmeda is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Political Science at
Northwestern University. Laura Flamand gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Mexican National Council
for Science and Technology (SEP-2004-C01-47015) and the research assistance of Edgar Campos. All errors are, of
course, responsibility of the authors.


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