Local Government Reforms in Federal Brazil, India and South Africa: A Comparative Overview

  • Helder Do Vale Center for Political and Constitutional Studies (CEPC), Spanish Ministry of the Presidency
Keywords: decentralization, local government, federalism, fiscal reforms, administrative reforms, institutional change


This article examines the changes at the local level of government that have been taking place in Brazil, India and South Africa for the past thirty years as a result of complex federal decision-making processes. I summarize the most important federal traits of these countries and identify the role of key institutions behind the fiscal, political and administrative changes in local governments. The article draws on the institutional processes to dissect the anatomy of local government reforms in these countries and concludes that although the changes in local government structures and powers have been taken against the background of transition to democracy and/or democratic deepening, the scope of change in local government varied.

Conference Paper