Coordination: Adrian Lavalle, Department of Political Science, USP
The main question of this subproject is: How does subnational regulation affect the decision-making power of policy-specific councils beyond the powers specified in federal regulation. Under what circumstances does such regulation take place?
Previous findings of the research team have demonstrated that the capacity of councils to influence policymaking depends upon their territorial expansion and how embedded they are in the regular operation of the policy area. In both cases, federal regulation plays a crucial role, either through incentive mechanisms that induce expansion or through regulation that specifies the role of municipal councils in the policy cycle. Yet, previous research has also identified very active councils whose policy role and scope is specified by subnational regulation (either from state or municipal governments). Thus, councils may operate under layered regulatory regimes, greatly affecting their ability to act, but this is a research frontier that is little explored.
This subproject proposes to explore how subnational regulations increase council decision-making of and under what circumstances. First, we aim to identify which subnational regulations confer an active role on councils beyond the scope of federal provisions, and through which mechanisms. Second, to assess the circumstances conducive to increasing council decision-making, we aim to uncover the political factors associated with the construction of councils’ ability to act at the state and municipal levels. The analysis will take into account the process of regulatory development and its contestation by state, private and social actors. The subproject therefore requires comparison of the volume and profile of decision-making activity by policy-specific councils with the scope and content of the regulatory regimes to which they are subjected.
The methodology will draw from databases containing censuses of councils' resolutions collected over seven years in the official gazettes of six large municipalities. The project employs three methodological strategies. First, we will expand the number of municipalities drawn from the same state in our dataset by web-scraping municipal council resolutions. The interpretation and classification of thousands of municipal council decisions will be facilitated by applying machine learning techniques. Second, a survey of local regulation will be carried out along with document analysis to identify and categorize subnational regimes. Third, in order to identify the political construction of local regulation and councils’ capacity to act a literature survey will be conducted along with interviews with key informants.