Policy, Performance and Management in Governance and Intergovernmental Relations Transatlantic Perspectives
Edited by Edoardo Ongaro, Andrew Massey, Marc Holzer and Ellen Wayenberg
Chapter 5: The Institutional Analysis of Central-local Relations Applied to the Case of the Netherlands and Germany
5. The institutional analysis of centrallocal relations applied to the case of the Netherlands and Germany Trui Steen and Theo Toonen INTRODUCTION Considering the complexity yet significance of developing comparative insights in central-local relations, this chapter tests the applicability of a recently developed analytic framework for the study of the role of local government in multi-level governance. This framework functions as a tool for the comparative study of intergovernmental relations and for the assessment of ongoing developments in local government autonomy. It focuses on how, in a context of multi-level governance, institutions at various levels of government act as partners and agents in policy-making and implementation. As such, it is a useful tool for analysing changes affecting the institutional balance between national and local authorities. The empirical analysis in this paper focuses on two countries. Firstly, the Netherlands, with its apparent contradiction underlying the concept of a ‘decentralized unitary state’, provides an interesting case. Secondly, we study the German federal system, outlining the adaptive capacity of the co-operative state. Finally, we assess the analytic potential of the framework applied. A COMPARATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR THE STUDY OF CENTRAL-LOCAL RELATIONS Previous work by Toonen and colleagues (Toonen 1990; Toonen and van der Meer 2006; Toonen and Steen 2007; Toonen 2009), building upon the work of Wright (1990), discussed theoretical perspectives on intergovernmental systems and multi-level governance. Their work highlighted the importance of adding a sociological (‘informal’) dimension to the analysis of intergovernmental systems, complementing a legalist (‘formal’) 77 M2495 - ONGARO PRINT.indd...
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