From Uniform to Differentiated Government
32 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 26, 2014
This paper uses a new dataset on regional governance in eighty countries since 1950 to understand its transformation from uniform to differentiated governance. The classic model of governance within the state conceives a series of uniform, nested tiers. The model is uniform, elegant, and reaffirms the fundamental notion that states impose the same rules on all subnational jurisdictions at a given tier. There have always been countries that break the mold, but one of the most interesting developments over the past half century is that the classic model has become the exception rather than the rule. Today a majority of the countries we observe have at least one region that stands out from its tier because it has more or less authority, and we distinguish three forms of differentiation: autonomy, asymmetry, and dependency. Differentiated governance becomes visible only when one is able to compare individual regions within the same country. This is where the data that we have gathered comes in, for it is the first systematic attempt to step inside countries to estimate subnational authority at the level of the individual region. This paper elucidates the concept of differentiated governance and its various forms before examining its incidence across countries, regions, and over time.
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