Trends in Decentralization

Christopher Ansell and Jane Gingrich

in Democracy Transformed?

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199264995
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603259 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

 Trends in Decentralization

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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.

Keywords: decentralization; majoritarian democracies; consensual democracies; unitary states; federal states

Chapter.  10186 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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