Veronica Herrera tackles how to make public services more accountable and equitable in new global South democracies by studying urban water provision in Mexico. She is especially concerned with how to uproot what she calls “particularistic public service provision” and develop accountable, universal practices that will help build and stabilize democracy. Through deeply researched case studies of eight municipalities from the 1990s to the early 2010s, she concludes that water service reform efforts fared best in cities with strong middle classes, vibrant water-dependent industries, and new political parties attempting to garner these groups' support.

Herrera is a political scientist, but her study fits well with historians' increasing attention to long-standing connections between water, infrastructure, and politics in cities and their hinterlands in Latin America. Historians will be especially interested in the book's treatment of water provision under Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) rule...

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