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A Comparative Analysis of Associations of Governors in Argentina and Mexico
Unformatted Document Text:  7 well as the management of natural resources). In most cases, particularly in education, decentralization has merely signified the transfer of administrative responsibilities without decision power or sufficient financial resources. State governments, for example, must accept yearly increases in the wages of state teachers not negotiated at the state level, but at the federal (between the National Union of Education Workers and the federal ministry of education). As this section attempts to show, a centralized federal model has dominated most of the independent history of Argentina and Mexico. This model, however, has slowly reversed during the last decades of the XX century. Consider, in particular, that democratization has strengthened the political autonomy of subnational authorities (Gibson 2004, Flamand 2004) and that the decentralization of the education and health services to subnational governments (since the late 70s in Argentina, and in the 80s and 90s in Mexico) has entrusted governors with control over an increasing portion of resources. As a result of these transformations, governors have become powerful actors, ready to voice their claims and to actively participate in the national policy making process. Despite these decentralizing tendencies, in both countries, the federal government continues to be the main tax-collector, while subnational governments levy an extremely limited number of taxes. This last fact clearly illustrates the degree to which subnational governments are dependant from (and vulnerable in respect to) the actions of the federal government in Argentina and Mexico, and explain for the most part why governors may benefit from negotiating as a block with federal officials and legislators to rebalance the federal agreement on terms more favorable to the subnational units. Adopting new strategies, brief histories of the associations As we have mentioned, one of the main reasons for subnational governments to associate was to gain greater access to federal government officials, and in this respect both associations have been undoubtedly successful. In Argentina, the Frente became a decisive player in the national political scene since its emergence, forcing national

Authors: Flamand, Laura. and Juan, Olmeda.
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well as the management of natural resources). In most cases, particularly in education,
decentralization has merely signified the transfer of administrative responsibilities
without decision power or sufficient financial resources. State governments, for example,
must accept yearly increases in the wages of state teachers not negotiated at the state
level, but at the federal (between the National Union of Education Workers and the
federal ministry of education).
As this section attempts to show, a centralized federal model has dominated most of
the independent history of Argentina and Mexico. This model, however, has slowly
reversed during the last decades of the XX century. Consider, in particular, that
democratization has strengthened the political autonomy of subnational authorities
(Gibson 2004, Flamand 2004) and that the decentralization of the education and health
services to subnational governments (since the late 70s in Argentina, and in the 80s and
90s in Mexico) has entrusted governors with control over an increasing portion of
resources. As a result of these transformations, governors have become powerful actors,
ready to voice their claims and to actively participate in the national policy making
process.
Despite these decentralizing tendencies, in both countries, the federal government
continues to be the main tax-collector, while subnational governments levy an extremely
limited number of taxes. This last fact clearly illustrates the degree to which subnational
governments are dependant from (and vulnerable in respect to) the actions of the federal
government in Argentina and Mexico, and explain for the most part why governors may
benefit from negotiating as a block with federal officials and legislators to rebalance the
federal agreement on terms more favorable to the subnational units.
Adopting new strategies, brief histories of the associations
As we have mentioned, one of the main reasons for subnational governments to
associate was to gain greater access to federal government officials, and in this respect
both associations have been undoubtedly successful. In Argentina, the Frente became a
decisive player in the national political scene since its emergence, forcing national


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