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From identity to the economy: analysing the evolution of the decentralisation discourse

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  • Andr�s Rodr�guez-Pose
  • Richard Sandall

Abstract

Few global phenomena have been as pervasive over the lifetime of Government and Policy as the drive towards decentralisation. The number of countries transferring authority and resources to subnational tiers of government has multiplied over the last twenty-five years. Yet the motives behind this trend remain relatively unknown. We explore these motives by analysing changes in the decentralisation discourse across a number of countries. We find that, while arguments about democracy and good governance have been at the heart of the reasoning for decentralisation, identity has progressively been relegated in favour of the economy and the promise of an economic dividend as the other main motivating factor. However, this shift from identity to the economy is highly contingent on who is driving the process. Despite noticeable shifts towards economic arguments in the discourse of nationalist and secessionist movements, identity remains strong in bottom-up discourses. In contrast, it has almost disappeared—if it ever existed—when the process of decentralisation is undertaken by the state or is encouraged by international organisations.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy.

Volume (Year): 26 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 54-72

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Handle: RePEc:pio:envirc:v:26:y:2008:i:1:p:54-72

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Web page: http://www.pion.co.uk

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Cited by:
  1. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Anne Krøijer, 2009. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth in Central and Eastern Europe," Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) 2, London School of Economics / European Institute.
  2. Benny Geys & Federico Revelli, 2011. "Economic and political foundations of local tax structures: an empirical investigation of the tax mix of Flemish municipalities," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 29(3), pages 410-427, June.
  3. Roberto Ezcurra & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2009. "Does Decentralization Matter for Regional Disparities? A Cross-Country Analysis," SERC Discussion Papers 0025, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  4. Germ� Bel & Antonio Miralles, 2010. "Choosing between service fees and budget funding to pay for local services: empirical evidence from Spain," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(1), pages 54-71, February.
  5. Diaz-Serrano, Luis & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2014. "Decentralization and the Welfare State: What Do Citizens Perceive?," MPRA Paper 54123, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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