Handbook on Multi-level Governance
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Handbook on Multi-level Governance

Edited by Henrik Enderlein, Sonja Wälti and Michael Zürn

Scholarship of multi-level governance has developed into one of the most innovative themes of research in political science and public policy. This accessible Handbook presents a thorough review of the wide-ranging literature, encompassing various theoretical and conceptual approaches to multi-level governance and their application to policy-making in domestic, regional and global contexts.
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Chapter 17: Multi-level Governance and Comparative Regionalism

Alberta Sbragia


Alberta Sbragia The title of this chapter refers to some of the most debated concepts in the study of politics. ‘Multi-level’ is found in titles of books about cities as well as about the European Union (EU) while ‘governance’ for its part is used to refer to any number of relationships within nation-states, within the EU, and at the global level. Finally, comparative regionalism, in its turn, is also used in many different ways depending on whether the author is an economist or a political scientist, on the part of the world being analysed, and on whether the subject of the inquiry includes the EU (Sbragia 2008). Because each of these terms is very fashionable, they are used in many ways, in many different contexts, and in very different scholarly communities that rarely if ever communicate with one another. The term ‘multi-level governance’ (MLG) is most commonly used in relation to the EU. Analysts can emphasize either ‘multi-level’ or ‘governance’ or both. Much of the EU literature focuses on the ‘multi-level’ aspect of MLG – the (often interdependent) relationship between Brussels, national capitals and (at times) subnational centers in the policy process. Such an approach differs from the more traditional ‘intergovernmental’ bargaining familiar to students of international relations. The multiple and complex connections among territorially defined levels of authority and among various policy and political arenas made the approach particularly attractive to EU scholars (Hooghe and Marks 2001). The attraction of MLG to EU scholars was based on the fact that...

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