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Studying contamination effects in multi-level systems of governance : first thoughts about hypotheses and research design

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Gschwend, Thomas

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Corporate Editor Universität Mannheim, Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES)
Abstract "In many political reforms around the globe we observe a common trend that might be characterized as 'decentralization' or 'devolution'. Through recasting constitutions, creating sub-national legislatures or simply through devolving more and more administrative responsibilities to already existing sub-national authorities those political reforms try to bring the government home 'to the people'. The coming-home of the government is seen by many as a way to improve responsiveness and heighten the democratic quality and the (out-put oriented) legitimacy of the political system by trying to match policy output more closely to citizen’s preferences. It is also seen as injecting new lifeblood into the political process because multi-level systems offer political actors potential new arenas in which to compete, as the enthusiastic proponents suggest. Most European democracies employ a multi-level system of governance. They provide several challenges and important opportunities for electoral accountability and for our understanding of representative democracy. Nevertheless multi-level systems of governance also raise serious concerns about their democratic deficit. Not only citizens but also elected MPs find it hard to attribute responsibility to certain actors correctly when actual policy-making processes are obfuscated by the number of state and non-state actors, lobbyists, specialists and the like who participate in it. This, of course, has important consequences for the legitimacy of the policymaking process." (excerpt)
Keywords EU; democracy; government; multi-level analysis; context analysis
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government; Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Collection Title The multilevel electoral system of the EU
Editor Eijk, Cees van der; Schmitt, Hermann
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
City Mannheim
Page/Pages p. 229-240
Series CONNEX Report Series, 04
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne