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Why is it so difficult to promote territorial development through public policies? The obstacles faced by a Brazilian experience

Wolney Felippe Antunes Junior, Ricardo Serra Borsatto and Vanilde Ferreira de Souza-Esquerdo

World Development Perspectives, 2021, vol. 24, issue C

Abstract: The use of the territorial approach to confronting structural problems in regions with low levels of socio-economic development has motivated the experimentation of a series of public policies around the world. The objective of this article is to analyze, based on a Brazilian experience, the obstacles encountered by public policies in promoting processes for territorial development. The discussions proposed here were based on the case of the São Paulo’s Southwestern Territory, which experienced, between 2003 and 2016, the three national policies with territorial focus studied in this research: the Zero Hunger Program, the National Program for the Sustainable Development of Rural Territories (PRONAT), and the Territorial Citizenship Program (PTC). The data was collected through semi-structured interviews and documentary evidence. The analysis was based on the institutional arrangements approach. As a result, we found that territorial policies encountered difficulties to go beyond the sectoral scale, promote inter-municipal actions, and diversify the social actors involved. Our main finding was that this occurred due to three types of fragmentation in territorial policies, which we call sectoral, spatial and top-down fragmentation. As lessons and paths to be followed, we first emphasize that Brazil needs to return to an agenda that considers the territorial approach to development; then we indicate that public investments need to be constant and long-term; territorial committees need to be autonomous and legally capable of managing public resources; we suggest linking territorially focused policies with the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda; Finally, we recommend an approximation between the territorial approach to policies and the neo-endogenous framework.

Keywords: Neo-endogenous development; Territory; Dismantling; Governance; Institutional arrangements (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.wdp.2021.100367

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