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Localism and Centralism in EuropeThe Political and Legal Bases of Local Self-Government$
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Edward C. Page

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198277279

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198277279.001.0001

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Explaining Patterns of Centralism and Localism

Explaining Patterns of Centralism and Localism

(p.97) 5 Explaining Patterns of Centralism and Localism
Localism and Centralism in Europe

Edward C. Page

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the theoretical approaches to understanding cross-national variation in centralism and localism. It examines why countries differ in their patterns of centralism and localism and consequently the opportunities that they offer local political élites to shape policy. It also discusses the importance of historical dimension in the explanation of distinctive features of national–local relations. It argues that by the end of the 18th century, there was a common pattern of central–local relations in five of the six continental Europeans nations in the study: a pattern of administrative control of local government by a central state official. This argument is presented by examining local government in the medieval period, the reform of local government in the 19th century, patterns of clientelism in the 20th century, and finally bringing all the parts of the explanation together.

Keywords:   centralism, localism, policy, cross-national variation, national-local relations, European nations, local government, clientelism

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