Territorial reforms in Europe: effects on administrative performance and democratic participation

Falk Ebinger, Sabine Kuhlmann, Jörg Bogumil

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review

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Territorial reform is the most radical and contested reorganisation of local government. A sound evaluation of the outcome of such reforms is hence an important step to ensure the legitimation of any decision on the subject. However, in our view the discourse on the subject appears to be one sided, focusing primarily on overall fiscal effects scrutinised by economists. The contribution of this paper is hence threefold: Firstly, we provide an overview off territorial reforms in Europe, with a special focus on Eastern Germany as a promising case for cross-country comparisons. Secondly, we provide an overview of the analytical classifications of these reforms and context factors to be considered in their evaluation. And thirdly, we analyse the literature on qualitative performance effects of these reforms. The results show that territorial reforms have a significant positive impact on functional performance, while the effects on participation and integration are indeed ambivalent. In doing so, we provide substantial arguments for a broader, more inclusive discussion on the success of territorial reforms.
Original languageGerman (Austria)
Pages (from-to)1 - 23
JournalLocal Government Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 506014 Comparative politics
  • 506009 Organisation theory
  • 502024 Public economy
  • 509004 Evaluation research

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