Decentralizing Federal Employees: Mexico and the U.S.
John Kincaid
Lafayette College

Mexico’s in-coming president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, wants to move the headquarters of about 31 federal government agencies out of Mexico City so as decongest the city and give smaller cities more federal civil-service jobs. The concentration of federal employment in Mexico City has been consistent with Mexico’s centralized history. The plan will likely meet considerable resistance from government employees unwilling to be relocated to smaller cities.

It is widely believed that U.S. federal employees are concentrated in Washington, DC. Although the headquarters of most federal agencies are in Washington, DC, only about 21 percent of federal employees work in the DC area. The other 79 percent work across the 50 states. Only a few agencies, such as the Centers for Disease Control headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, have headquarters outside Washington, DC, but federal employees have long been dispersed among the states, partly at the insistence of members of Congress, who always want federal jobs in their states and districts. The dispersing of federal employees has been consistent with the historically non-centralized nature of U.S. federalism.

Read more here: The Radical Plan to Move Mexico’s Government

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U.S. mayors are increasingly pushing back against federal policy. Center for the Study of Federalism Fellow John Kincaid explains why and points to other historical instances of mayoral activism in this article from Time.