Edited by Edoardo Ongaro, Andrew Massey, Marc Holzer and Ellen Wayenberg
Chapter 11: Institutional Decentralization Policies as Multi-level Governance Strategies – Evaluating the Impacts of Decentralization in Western Europe
11. Institutional decentralization policies as multi-level governance strategies – evaluating the impacts of decentralization in Western Europe Falk Ebinger, Stephan Grohs, Renate Reiter and Sabine Kuhlmann INTRODUCTION The rearrangement of public functions in multi-level systems is a central topic of inter-governmental relations. Thereby the decentralization of public functions seems to be a global trend in national public administration reform (Pollitt and Bouckaert 2004; Denters and Rose 2005; Deffigier 2007). Whilst one potentially problematic consequence of decentralization consists in the split of policy formulation and policy implementation between levels of government, central governments frequently expect more gains than losses from the decentralization of public functions. Yet today, it remains a still open question, which impact decentralization policies really do have on public policy-making at its implementation stage, i.e. on the performance of local service delivery and on service quality. In this chapter, we intend to contribute to an answering of this research question by introducing a five-dimensional model of qualitative analysis. We measure the effects of decentralization on local service performance regarding actors capabilities’ for coordination; changes in the democratic accountability of services; efficiency and effectiveness changes and finally the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the fulfillment of public functions between local governments. In applying our model to a specific case of decentralization as a multi-level governance strategy, we present here first empirical findings from the German case study of an ongoing comparative research project1 on national decentralization policies. The project as such comprises a comparison of recent national decentralization policies 180 M2495...
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