Words or Deeds - What Matters? On the Role of Symbolic Action in Political Decentralization
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management and Russian Academy of Sciences
January 20, 2012
Although decentralization is often modeled as an outcome of bargaining over rents and policies, public statements, symbols and status have a great impact on this process as well. The paper studies the relative importance of “real” political actions versus changes of a symbolic nature in the bargaining over devolution and secession, using the unique laboratory of personnel recentralization in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2000 through 2007. Although in the 1990s most regional branches of federal ministries were under control of regional governors, Vladimir Putin replaced the heads of agencies with new bureaucrats in the 2000s, thereby cutting their connections to the regions. This paper finds a robust influence of symbolic gestures made by regional governments in the earlier bargaining process on appointments, even controlling for the actual policies.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: devolution, symbolic action in politics, fiscal federalism, Russian regions
JEL Classification: D78, H77, P26working papers series
Date posted: April 12, 2010 ; Last revised: January 21, 2012
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