Rowman and Littlefield International
Theorising Decentralisation

Theorising Decentralisation

Comparative Evidence from Sub-National Switzerland

By Sean Mueller

Publication Date: Jul 2015

Pages 296

ECPR Press

Paperback 9781785521294
£30.00 €41.00 $46.00

This book seeks to explain centralisation and decentralisation across the 26 Swiss cantons using sociocultural, political-ideological, and macro-structural approaches. Centralisation and decentralisation are conceptionalised as having institutional (polity), functional (policy) and actor- and process-oriented dimensions. When decentralisation is first predicted cross-sectionally using linear regression models, three significant independent variables emerge: political culture, area, and the strength of leftwing parties. Then, using process tracing, Mueller studies four cantons over time to move from identifying correlation to establishing causation. Finally, the author draws causal inferences for (de)centralisation, urging future federal and territorial politics studies to reconceptualise decentralisation into three distinct but related dimensions and to bridge the theoretical gap between socio-cultural, structural and party-political approaches to achieve more valid and reliable explanations of territorial governance.


List of Figures and Tables vii

Abbreviations xi

The 26 Swiss Cantons xi

Preface xiii

Introduction xix

Chapter One: Existing Insights 1

Chapter Two: Concept and Theory 33

Chapter Three: Case Study Design 53

Chapter Four: Measuring Cantonal Decentralisation 63

Chapter Five: Predicting Cantonal Decentralisation 101

Chapter Six: Tracing Cantonal Decentralisation 129

Chapter Seven: Decentralisation – So What? 165

Chapter Eight: Comparative Perspectives 185

Conclusions 209

Appendices 213

Data Appendix 219

Bibliography 225

Index 267

Sean Mueller is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Berne, Switzerland, and editorial assistant of the Swiss Political Science Review. He obtained his PhD from the University of Kent in 2013. Before that, he was Research Fellow at the Institute of Federalism in Fribourg, Switzerland. Since 2011, he has co-convened the Swiss Political Science Association’s standing group on Federalism & Territorial Politics and since 2013, he has been on the editorial board of Fédéralisme-Régionalisme. He co-edited Understanding Federalism & Federation (Ashgate, 2015) and has published in Publius, Government & Opposition, Electoral Studies, Space & Polity and L’Europe en Formation.

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