It is impossible, IMO, to do many functions without these privileges.
I currently work in an environment where I don't usually need admin. I'm a self-employed Mac developer, and do all of my dev work in an unprivileged account. However that account is a member of the _developer group, which gives the debugger the right to attach to processes. That's frequently all I need. When I've worked in $bigcorp networks where developers do need admin or root, IT have typically created a sandbox network for developer machines to sit in which have access to SCM, the bug tracker, build environment front-end and so on but limited access to business systems and internet facilities.
Developers administering PROD boxes?
Apparently you do NOT go through any SOX or HIPPA audits
Why not simply work on virtual machines? Then you know they are clean and you can have all the rights you want and still have comply with company rules.
In a lot of environments, setting up a good seperation is simply to costly in time, so you either end up with dev's with not enough rights to do their job or to many where they can endanger systems they shouldn't.
So it should not be needed to have local admin rights, but then the sysadmins got a hell of a job to setup everything so that it is not needed. Most sysadmins simply ain't capable of that, or if they are, are not given the time.
Ever hear of Title IX?
No. But having just searched for it, I discover it's a shorthand name for a law enacted in the US. I'm not from the US.
"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos