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
The 26 Swiss Cantons xi
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
Data Appendix 219
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.