Bettina Boekle

Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut









The politics challenge of decentralized education policy in Brazil

Abstract / Breve descripción del proyecto

Poverty reduction literature and international financial institutions have often claimed that decentralization enhances development because of policy interventions that are closer, hence more responsive and efficient towards local demands of citizens. However, empirical results from developing countries are quite mixed. This also holds for the debate about the quality of education since despite similar financial and economic inputs, similar sub-national units within one country cannot assure similar outcomes. A crucial question that economic studies are not able to answer but are highly interested in is which role the politics of federalism, institutions and their formal and informal interactions play in assuring education quality in decentralized settings.

I address this question in a most-similar comparative case study design on primary education policy in two states of Brazil’s north east, namely Ceará and Pernambuco. Using selected assumptions from historical institutionalism, I discuss if and how formal institutional mechanisms such as accountability, transparency, participatory mechanisms and party competition are able to explain variations of policy implementation and formulation in a time-span of roughly 15 years (1995-2010). I find that differences in policy outcomes (education quality) and the success of named factors can potentially be explained by how state governments systemically address institutional weaknesses and informality at municipal level in policy interventions.

Akademischer Abschluss / Trayectoria Académica

Maestria en Relaciones Internacionales y Economia Internacional por la Universidad de Johns Hopkins, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) en Washington, DC

Publikationen / Publicaciones

Boekle, B. (2011). Social Inequality and Brazil’s policy response in the 90s – A review (in German). In: Brazil Today. Costa, S. Et al. (Eds.). Vervuert Verlag. Frankfurt a.M.

Boekle, B./Harbitz, M. (2010): el rol y la responsabilidad transversal y transcendental del registro. In: Los registros y las personas: Dimensiones juridicas contemporaneas. Registro Nacional de Identificacion y estado Civil: Lima.

Boekle, B. and Harbitz, M. (2009). Democratic Governance, Citizenship and Legal Identity: Pledge for a theoretical and operational reflection. Discussion Paper, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC, May 2009.

Vorträge / Ponencias

University of Campinas, São Paulo: “A política de educação decentralizada no Brasil: Impacto dos desigualdades na educação básica no Nordeste”; German-Brazilian Conference on empirical methods in education research. Campinas, March 2010.

International Conference of InWENT Capacity Building International, the German Development Institute and GTZ in Berlin: “Strategies to achieve pro-poor growth in Brazil, China, India and Europe: The case of the education sector. Berlin, December 2009.