Fake decentralization

A very under-appreciated fact: developing countries keep cutting themselves into smaller units. Half of African countries have increased their districts by at least a fifth. Brazil, Indonesia, and Hungary have by 50%.  Is decentralization bring power to the people?

A new paper by Grossman and Lewis, coming out in next month’s APSR:

…although the proliferation of administrative units often accompanies or follows far-reaching decentralization reforms, it likely results in a recentralization of power; the proliferation of new local governments fragments existing units into smaller ones with lower relative intergovernmental bargaining power and administrative capacity. We find support for these arguments using original data from Uganda.

What’s an instinctively authoritarian guy to do when his country democratizes? Divide and conquer.

I hereby propose we cut all US House of Representatives districts in six, but leave the Senate be.