2003 volume 21(3) pages 333 – 351
doi:10.1068/c0235

Cite as:
Rodríguez-Pose A, Gill N, 2003, "The global trend towards devolution and its implications" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 21(3) 333 – 351

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The global trend towards devolution and its implications

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Nicholas Gill

Received 14 June 2002; in revised form 7 October 2002

Abstract. Globalisation has been accompanied by an equally global tendency towards devolution of authority and resources from nation-states to regions and localities that takes on various forms, depending upon which actors are driving the decentralisation efforts. The existence of a general trend towards devolution also has significant implications for efficiency, equity, and administration. The authors outline first the general drive towards devolution and then proceed to examine which countries are experiencing which forms of decentralisation. A theoretical argument emphasising the role of governmental legitimacy across various tiers of government is used to explain the diversity of devolution initiatives, drawing on examples that include Brazil, Mexico, India, China, the USA, and some European countries. Having supported their model of decentralisation, the authors then examine the implications of the widespread downward transfer of power towards regions. Some of the less widely discussed pitfalls of decentralisation are presented; caution in promoting devolutionary efforts is the prescription of this paper.

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