This dissertation is a study of a society in crisis enmeshed in the vicious circle of socioeconomic stagnation. It seeks to point out the causes and effects of underdevelopment as they pertain to Haiti. Material presented comes from two general sources: field data collected by the author in Haiti and the analysis of documentation already available. Emphasis is placed on the major social institutions of Haitian society. The study begins by tracing the history of Haiti from the French colonial period to the emergence” of Haiti as the first Negro nation at the beginning of the 19th century. The republic in its first century experienced a series of crises which culminated in the American occupation of 1915-34. The “Social Revolution” of 1946 brought the first signs of a new sense of direction, which was corrupted with the inception of the Duvalier regime in 1957.
In Haiti, decentralization as a development tool has been a part of the political discourse for over thirty years, since the end of the 29-year father-son Duvalier dictatorship in 1986. However, Haiti’s recent progress – specifically in terms of fiscal decentralization – has been largely credited to the United States Agency for International Development’s Limyè ak Òganizasyon pou Kolektivite yo Ale Lwen (LOKAL+) program though it has not been readily apparent to what extent enhancements in local revenue have impacted public expenditures.