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Federalism and territorial equality: a contradiction in terms?

The study explores the relationship between federalism and territorial inequality, taking Brazil as the object of analysis. The conclusion is that there is a trade-off between territorial inequality reduction and the full autonomy of local governments. The central government's redistributive role seems to be a condition for reducing revenue inequality between jurisdictions, and so reducing inequality in citizens' access to public services requires the central government to perform redistributive and regulatory role. On the other hand, local autonomy pushes toward inequality. Hence, federal regulation and local autonomy are combined in a given polity, the result tends to be bound inequality.

federative state; municipalities; public policies; territorial inequality


Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
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