Oscar Sanchez Romero

Student MSc by Research Multi-level and Regional Politics
The University of Edinburgh
E-mail address: O.I.Sanchez-Romero@sms.ed.ac.uk
Proposed title of my presentation: Territorial decentralisation and territorial development in Colombia: a ‘race to the bottom’ or ‘a race to the top’?
Supervisors: Dr. Nicola McEwen and Dr. Mark Aspinwall
Research interests: territorial politics, decentralisation, territorial development.

I come from Colombia where I worked with the national government. I did an internship in the Department of National Planning (DNP) during my undergraduate studies in Public Administration (2000). Then, I joined the Directorate of Territorial Development of the DNP while also completing an MSc in Economics (2006). I worked there for 11 years, first as a consultant (2001-2005) and then as a public servant (2006-2011). In my career I worked on issues such as: territorial management, decentralisation, territorial public management and regional development. My professional experience has instilled in me a desire to study these issues more deeply.

Some existing literature suggests that decentralisation can produce a downward pressure on development, leading to a ‘race to the bottom’ in public services or environmental protection, for example (Rodden). Others suggest decentralisation can foster innovation and development to better suit local needs (Keating).

The proposed research examines the relationship between territorial decentralisation and territorial development in a Latin American country. It will place Colombia in a broad theoretical and empirical context and will focus on the departmental level, using mixed methods. The results will be of value to academic understandings of territorial politics and development, and may inform Colombian policy-makers.

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