Trends in Decentralization
Demands for state decentralization are sometimes justified as bringing government closer to the people, thereby enhancing opportunities for political participation. This chapter examines decentralization reforms across the 18 OECD countries in this study. It finds that there has been a general trend toward decentralization, though with considerable variation in the degree and kind of decentralization across countries. Majoritarian democracies and unitary states have undergone the greatest and most systemic decentralization, whereas decentralization in consensual democracies and federal states has occurred more at the margins. Reforms also differ in whether they are aimed primarily at achieving neo-liberal goals, such as greater competition and efficiency, or increasing citizen involvement and participation in local government.
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