Edited by Henrik Enderlein, Sonja Wälti and Michael Zürn
Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks1 Centralized authority has given way to new forms of governing.2 Formal authority has been dispersed from central states both up to supranational institutions and down to regional and local governments. A survey finds that 63 of 75 developing countries have been undergoing some decentralization of authority (Garman et al. 2001, p. 205). An index of regional authority in 42 democracies and semi-democracies reveals that 29 countries have regionalized and only two have become more centralized since 1950 (Hooghe et al. 2010). The last two decades have also seen the creation of a large number of transnational regimes, some of which exercise real supranational authority. At the same time, public/private networks of diverse kinds have multiplied from the local to the international level. The diffusion of authority in new political forms has led to a profusion of new terms: multi-level governance, multi-tiered governance, polycentric governance, multiperspectival governance, FOCJ (functional, overlapping and competing jurisdictions), fragmegration, the post-national state, consortio, and condominio, to name but a few. The evolution of similar ideas in different fields can be explained as diffusion from several literatures – federalism, public policy, urban studies, and international regimes. These literatures agree that the dispersion of governance across multiple jurisdictions is both more efficient than, and normatively superior to, central state monopoly. The core belief is that governance must operate at multiple scales in order to capture variations in the territorial reach of policy externalities. Because externalities arising from the provision of public goods vary immensely...
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