Bringing the Regions Back In: A Study of Sub-National Variation in Quality of Government in 172 EU Regions
39 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 8 Sep 2010
Date Written: 2010
This paper explores the importance of sub-national vis-à-vis national differences in good governance, control of corruption or what in the literature is known as quality of government (QoG). Methodologically the paper uses both a large-N quantitative analysis and qualitative case studies to elucidate variation in QoG across and within E.U. countries. We also introduce novel sub-national data for 172 E.U. regions based on survey of 34,000 residents across 18 countries, which constitutes the largest multi-country survey on QoG at the regional level to date. The paper shows, first, that there are notable differences in the level of quality of government across EU regions; second, that those differences, despite being inherently difficult to capture, can be measured with sufficient accuracy and are resistant to the most stringent robustness checks available; third, that those differences in quality of government decisively matter for explaining the different socio-economic development of EU countries and regions; and fourth, that there are institutions and policies shared by the administrations of the best performing EU regions that have been traditionally overlooked by both academics and policy-makers and that should be in the political agenda.
Keywords: Quality of government, corruption, European Union, regions
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