The Diffusion of Good Government: Social Sector Reforms in Brazil (Paperback)
  • The Diffusion of Good Government: Social Sector Reforms in Brazil (Paperback)
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The Diffusion of Good Government: Social Sector Reforms in Brazil (Paperback)

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Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 30/12/2012
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One of the most fundamental questions for social scientists involves diffusion events; simply put, how do ideas spread and why do people embrace them? In Diffusion of Good Government: Social Sector Reforms in Brazil, Natasha Borges Sugiyama examines why innovations spread across political territories and what motivates politicians to adopt them.

Sugiyama does so from the vantage point of Brazilian politics, a home to innovative social sector reforms intended to provide the poor with access to state resources. Since the late 1980s, the country has undergone major policy transformations as local governments have gained political, fiscal, and administrative autonomy. For the poor and other vulnerable groups, local politics holds special importance: municipal authorities provide essential basic services necessary for their survival, including social assistance, education, and health care. Brazil, with over 5,000 municipalities with a wide variety of political cultures and degrees of poverty, thus provides ample opportunities to examine the spread of innovative programs to assist such groups.

Sugiyama delves into the politics of social sector reforms by examining the motivations for emulating well-regarded programs. To uncover the mechanisms of diffusion, her analysis contrasts three paradigmatic models for how individuals choose to allocate resources: by advancing political self-interest to gain electoral victories; by pursuing their ideological commitments for social justice; or by seeking to demonstrate adherence to the professional norms of their fields. Drawing on a mixed-method approach that includes extensive field research and statistical analysis on the spread of model programs in education (especially Bolsa Escola, a school grant program) and health (Programa Saude da Familia, a family health program), she concludes that ideological convictions and professional norms were the main reasons why mayors adopted these programs, with electoral incentives playing a negligible role.

Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
ISBN: 9780268041427
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"Sugiyama offers careful case studies of Bolsa Escola (educational grants) and Saude da Familia (family health promotion). . . . She confirms the pattern of interaction among the variables with quantitative analysis as well as detailed qualitative reporting. The study includes a rich review of policy diffusion theory." --Choice
"Diffusion of Good Government fills an important gap in the literature and should be of great interest to Brazilian specialists and to development practitioners. . . . To the author's great merit, she successfully challenges the assumptions about patronage, clientelism, and the politics that shape reform efforts in Brazil, and even more broadly, in the developing world." --The Americas
"Natasha Borges Sugiyama addresses a vitally important question for those seeking a better understanding of anti-poverty and social welfare policy in Brazil. What forces drive the spread of progressive, equity-enhancing social sector reforms in that country? . . . In her fluently written, informative and persuasive tome, Sugiyama concludes with a hopeful message: that the coming together of ideological beliefs and the reinforcement of professional norms augurs well for the future of social policy-making in Brazil." --Journal of Latin American Studies

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