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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Elona Guga

An attempt will be made to shed light on the course and pattern of the decentralization process by analyzing the historical development of local government and the…

Abstract

Purpose

An attempt will be made to shed light on the course and pattern of the decentralization process by analyzing the historical development of local government and the territorial-administrative reform of 2015-2020 in Albania and the factors that have been shaping it. The scope is to understand the impact of the reform elements on the subnational governments and in general their overall impact on the government. The purpose of this paper is to fill the gap in the existing literature for Albania and at offering some insights on the administrative-territorial reform. Furthermore, it will contribute to the current debate on fiscal decentralization in South Eastern European (SEE) countries and the public management model implemented after the last reforms.

Design/methodology/approach

The first section analyzes the historical development of local government reforms from the 1990s to today and will help to identify if there is instrumentalism advocacy. The second section explains the determinants of the local government’s fiscal autonomy in Albania of the period from 2003 to 2016. Three indicators are used as proxies for fiscal decentralization: the proportion of subnational expenditure over national expenditure, of total subnational revenues over total revenues of central government and the indicator of own subnational revenues over total revenues of the central government. The data from the budget and the revised budgets are then compared.

Findings

Despite Albania’s commitment to decentralize its government functions, there is still work to do. The territorial and administrative reform has not generated the expected results. Almost 90 percent of the revenues still come from the central government’s unconditional transfers. Therefore, the Albanian Government should build capacities and skills, and train the employees of each level of government that currently benefit from international assistance.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis represents a single case study on the territorial-administrative reform in Albania. Its implementation started in 2015 and it is probably too early to discuss outcomes. However, it might be useful to analyze the first results after a two-and-a-half-year period of implementation of reforms. Despite contributing to the existing gap in the literature, additional research will be necessary to better understand the decentralization process not only in Albania, but in all SEE countries.

Practical implications

It is necessary to first understand the lack of initial output, as well as the various challenges faced, in order to take the corrective measures on time.

Originality/value

This paper discusses in detail the reform adopted and the progress made by the Albanian local government units. The reform attempts to develop better relationships between the central and local governments and hence improve their service delivery, transparency and accountability. This paper is the first one that is attempting to analyze the initial output of the territorial-administrative reform of 2015-2020.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 29 January 2021

Simon Toubeau

How are we to make sense of the attitudes of Social Democratic parties towards decentralisation? What do they think about what is a legitimate territorial allocation of…

Abstract

How are we to make sense of the attitudes of Social Democratic parties towards decentralisation? What do they think about what is a legitimate territorial allocation of power? What factors shapes this view? And what makes Social Democratic parties change their minds? This article addresses these questions by way of competing ideological traditions, the external strategic incentives and internal constraints. Empirically, the article presents a comparative case-study analysis of Social Democratic parties in four countries (Belgium, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom). On the basis of this analysis, I argue that the positioning of Social Democratic parties on decentralisation is influenced by strategic incentives created by the structure of political competition, whereas the policy shifts are more often produced by factors that are internal to the party. A decentralist policy shift is always associated with the capacity of regionalist parties to set the agenda by exerting pressures on Social Democratic parties. In addition, Social Democratic parties tend to shift their policy while in opposition to distinguish themselves from their centralist mainstream rival in government. The dominant mechanism found across four countries was one in which regional branches persuade the central party leadership to adopt a pro-decentralist position. This chapter illustrates how Social Democratic parties have an instinct for ‘adaptation and control’ in the face of social-structural changes, and it demonstrates that the prevalence of different ideological traditions will vary according to external strategic incentives and, crucially, by the party's internal ability to follow those incentives.

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Nicolas Keuffer

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent the initiatives of local governments to launch modernisation processes are facilitated by local autonomy, which…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent the initiatives of local governments to launch modernisation processes are facilitated by local autonomy, which is increasingly important in both the theory and practice of public policy and management.

Design/methodology/approach

Local government reforms are distinguished according to the institutional structure at which they are directed and local autonomy is assessed as a multidimensional concept. Drawing on a multilevel analysis of the Swiss case, this paper combines data stemming from a survey conducted at the local tier with secondary data from the regional tier.

Findings

The main empirical findings are threefold. First, when local governments undertake managerial or political reform initiatives, their autonomy with respect to higher levels of government matters. Second, it is not local autonomy but rather the perception of structural problems that is the force driving territorial reforms. Third, it is not the autonomy enjoyed by local governments vis-à-vis local factors, but rather the pressures stemming from that context that may lead to reforms.

Originality/value

By adopting a comparative approach to local autonomy, this paper shows that local governments which have sufficient latitude for local policy making are likely to take initiatives to improve service delivery in accordance with local preferences.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Silvia Bolgherini, Mattia Casula and Mariano Marotta

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the municipal reaction to a recent rescaling policy in Italy that, since 2010, require to small municipalities to jointly manage…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the municipal reaction to a recent rescaling policy in Italy that, since 2010, require to small municipalities to jointly manage their basic tasks (compulsory joint management – CJM) through intermunicipal forms of cooperation. The paper will investigate: how many small municipalities did effectively join their basic tasks; which forms of cooperation did they choose to perform these tasks; and which kind of reaction municipalities enacted toward the national provision.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantitative data rely on an original database collecting information on all Italian municipalities up to 2015. A qualitative research has also been conducted by submitting a semi-structured questionnaire and interviews to the civil servants in charge of the CJM in each of the 20 Italian regions and to other privileged interlocutors.

Findings

Italian municipalities poorly complied with the CJM norm and when they did, they choose the easiest way to do it (using the simplest available intermunicipal cooperation form). Among the explanations for this reaction: the lack of consistency and clear political will of the national policy maker in respect to this norm and the lack of a mind set at the local level oriented to cooperation and networking.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the main patterns of conflict in functional rescaling of small-sized municipalities in Italy, thus providing both fresh new data on this phenomena and useful elements for shaping future policy making on this topic.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Salvador Parrado

This paper aims to show that the Spanish central administration, as a representative of the Napoleonic tradition, has undergone considerable managerial changes in…

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1403

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to show that the Spanish central administration, as a representative of the Napoleonic tradition, has undergone considerable managerial changes in non‐autonomous and semi‐autonomous agencies characterised by their direct involvement in service delivery in spite of the failure of macro‐changes and radical reforms of public administration.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides case studies of “paths” of changes in three organisations.

Findings

Through “layering” and “diffusion” of institutions as social mechanisms included in the historical new institutionalism account for innovation, specific organisations like the tax agency, social security and property registry have become more managerial in a state dominated by public law.

Research limitations/implications

More in‐depth case studies would make possible generalisation of how small changes can produce similar impacts or results than reform efforts at the macro‐level.

Originality/value

The use of historical neo‐institutionalism and the exam of mechanisms as “layering” and “diffusion” for explaining change is presented.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Sabine Kuhlmann

This chapter is aimed at contributing to the question of how institutional reforms affect multi-level governance (MLG) capacities and thus the performance of public task…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter is aimed at contributing to the question of how institutional reforms affect multi-level governance (MLG) capacities and thus the performance of public task fulfillment with a particular focus on the local level of government in England, France, and Germany.

Methodology/approach

Drawing on concepts of institutional evaluation, we analytically distinguish six dimensions of impact assessment: vertical coordination; horizontal coordination; efficiency/savings; effectiveness/quality; political accountability/democratic control; equity of service standards. Methodologically, we rely on document analysis and expert judgments that could be gleaned from case studies in the three countries and a comprehensive evaluation of the available secondary data in the respective national and local contexts.

Findings

Institutional reforms in the intergovernmental setting have exerted a significant influence on task fulfillment and the performance of service delivery. Irrespective of whether MLG practice corresponds to type I or type II, task devolution (decentralization/de-concentration) furthers the interlocal variation and makes the equity of service delivery shrink. There is a general tendency of improved horizontal/MLG type I coordination capacities, especially after political decentralization, less in the case of administrative decentralization. However, decentralization often entails considerable additional costs which sometimes overload local governments.

Research implications

The distinction between multi-purpose territorial organization/MLG I and single-purpose functional organization/MLG II provides a suitable analytical frame for institutional evaluation and impact assessment of reforms in the intergovernmental setting. Furthermore, comparative research into the relationship between MLG and institutional reforms is needed to reveal the explanatory power of intervening factors, such as the local budgetary and staff situation, local policy preferences, and political interests in conjunction with the salience of the transferred tasks.

Practical implications

The findings provide evidence on the causal relationship between specific types of (vertical) institutional reforms, performance, and task-related characteristics. Policy-makers and government actors may use this information when drafting institutional reform programs and determining the allocation of public tasks in the intergovernmental setting.

Social implications

In general, the euphoric expectations placed upon decentralization strategies in modern societies cannot straightforwardly be justified. Our findings show that any type of task transfer to lower levels of government exacerbates existing disparities or creates new ones. However, the integration of tasks within multi-functional, politically accountable local governments may help to improve MLG type I coordination in favor of local communities and territorially based societal actors, while the opposite may be said with regard to de-concentration and the strengthening of MLG type II coordination.

Originality/value

The chapter addresses a missing linkage in the existing MLG literature which has hitherto predominantly been focused on the political decision-making and on the implementation of reforms in the intergovernmental settings of European countries, whereas the impact of such reforms and of their consequences for MLG has remained largely ignored.

Details

Multi-Level Governance: The Missing Linkages
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-874-8

Keywords

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2019

Karina Kenk and Toomas Haldma

The purpose of this paper is to study more deeply the use of performance information (PI) in the context of the administrative-territorial reform, e.g. amalgamation in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study more deeply the use of performance information (PI) in the context of the administrative-territorial reform, e.g. amalgamation in the local governments (LG) with an example of Estonian LGs.

Design/methodology/approach

The case study method is adopted, using data from publicly available documents and interviews with the politicians and officials at the five merger cases of Estonian LG units. The data are interpreted and analysed using attribution theory.

Findings

The results show that amalgamation patterns do have an influence on PI use – in particular, the authors see that PI is reported to be used more frequently in cases of voluntary mergers, which may be related to the different motivations to make attributions in cases of voluntary and compulsory mergers.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the debate on the importance and usefulness of different types of PI, as financial as well as non-financial information and for different information users in the light of LG reform in Estonia as being a Central and Eastern European country.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 3 December 2014

Peter M. Rosset and María Elena Martínez-Torres

In this chapter we focus on food sovereignty and agroecology, in the transnational peasant social movement La Via Campesina, as issues which help us analyze mechanisms of…

Abstract

In this chapter we focus on food sovereignty and agroecology, in the transnational peasant social movement La Via Campesina, as issues which help us analyze mechanisms of internal convergence in rural social movements. We examine such convergence through the building of collective processes, and in the construction of mobilizing frames for collective action. In particular, we analyze the encounter and diálogo de saberes (dialog among different knowledges and ways of knowing) between different rural cultures (East, West, North, and South; peasant, indigenous, and rural proletarian; etc.) that take place within it. This dialog among the “absences” left out by the dominant monoculture of ideas, has led to a process of convergence that has yielded important “emergences,” which range from mobilizing frames for collective action – like the food sovereignty concept – to social methodologies for the spread of agroecology among peasant families.

Details

Alternative Agrifood Movements: Patterns of Convergence and Divergence
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-089-6

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Article
Publication date: 29 February 2008

Calliope Spanou

The paper attempts to assess the impact of reforms of the last 25 years on Greek administration and more specifically on its Napoleonic features. Given that those have…

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2385

Abstract

Purpose

The paper attempts to assess the impact of reforms of the last 25 years on Greek administration and more specifically on its Napoleonic features. Given that those have been reshaped by country specific socio‐political dynamics, the analysis starts by pointing out the Napoleonic features but also specific features its Greek variant. These form the context of reforms undertaken and determine their trajectories as well as their limitations.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines four basic reform areas linked to important features of Napoleonic states: centrality of the state, centralised bureaucratic structures, labour relations in the public sector, and citizens‐administration relations. The rationale of reforms is discussed in relation to NPM trends but also to domestic challenges and priorities.

Findings

The significance of reforms undertaken varies. The state's presence in the economy has been significantly reduced and decentralisation reforms are more important politically than administratively. Citizens' rights and service delivery have been conceived rather as forms of democratisation and modernisation than as managerial reforms. Only recently labour relations in the public sector have been partly challenged while other reform aspects such as “agencification”, systematically by‐passing existing bureaucratic structures start to be part of the picture. Change has been incremental and followed pre‐established paths. The “Napoleonic” features of the state have not been seriously affected and reforms have hardly been reshaped by the new managerial paradigm. While the state remains the main reform actor and the law a typical policy instrument, a distinctive reform path emerges in Greece, as defined by the apparently contradictory rationale of a number of initiatives responding to old as much to new challenges.

Originality/value

Provides a brief account of important aspects of the Greek variant of the Napoleonic state and the context of recent reforms. Features and limits of reforms are also discussed. Finally, a tentative assessment answers the central question of the paper.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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