<strong>A summary of findings from Switzerland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands </strong>
The issue of the appropriate scale for local government has regularly appeared on the agenda of public sector reformers. In the empirical work devoted to this issue, the principal focus has been on the implications of size for efficiency in local service provision. Relatively less emphasis has been placed on the implications of size for the character and vitality of local democracy. This paper summarizes findings from a comparative research project which has sought to redress this imbalance by means of undertaking a closer inspection of relationships between municipal size and a set of indicators regarding the character of local democracy in four European countries. Analyses are based on cross-section interview data collected by means of a nested sample design consistent with the hierarchical nature of the issues involved. The inquiry is based on a strategy whereby theoretical models are developed and investigated for each indicator in a successive, cumulative fashion employing a "funnel of causality" logic. The overall conclusion from these analyses is that the size of the local political system has a significant negative effect on the character of local democracy in about half of the models estimated. Where such effects are found, however, they are relatively weak and are most pronounced in the smallest municipalities such as those found in Switzerland and Norway.
Ipsa World Congress, 2009, p. 1-30
kommunestyre; Demokrati; local government system; Democracy
Main Research Area:
IPSA World Congress, 2009
International Political Science Association (IPSA)