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Political Research Exchange - PRX

State-Wide and Regionalist Parties’ Perspectives in the Long-Term Dynamics of Decentralisation

Comparative Politics
Party Systems
Daniel Felipe Saldivia Gonzatti
University of Cologne
Daniel Felipe Saldivia Gonzatti
University of Cologne

To understand the causes and consequences of decentralization is crucial for the study of political systems. Decentralization reforms have, so far, been studied as if they were all the same. I argue that the causes of the first major decentralization reform (creating regional electoral systems) and the causes of the subsequent reforms operate under a very different logic. Once regional electoral systems are established, the set of incentives changes for state-wide as well as regionalist parties. First, I discuss the changing pay-offs from initial to further reforms in a game-theoretical perspective. The updated pay-off structures indicate a greater incentive for state-wide parties to accommodate authority requests, irrespective of their electoral and ideological relation to the demanding regions. After showing indicative evidence that the salience of territorial issues decreases after the first major reform, the theoretical framework is empirically tested with data from 12 established democracies (1945-2015) through logistic regression models adapted for rare events. Preliminary findings stress the decreasing relevance of ideology for state-wide parties’ incentives to decentralize after the creation of regional electoral systems.
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