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ECPR Rising Star Award

Comparative Territorial Politics: What Future for Multi-Level Institutions?

Comparative Politics
National Identity
Referendums and Initiatives
Political Engagement
Section Number
Section Chair
Elodie Fabre
Queen's University Belfast
Section Co-Chair
Arjan H. Schakel
Universitetet i Bergen

Federalism and other forms of territorial distribution of power have long been seen as solutions to maintaining the integrity of multinational states and bringing democracy closer to citizens. Recent independence referendums in Scotland and Catalonia have put into question the ability of regional autonomy to tame secessionism. At the same time, the financial crisis has created tensions between central governments and their regions, with some central governments trying to rein in spending by regional governments and fuelling resentment from those regions most affected by austerity. Still, regional autonomy remains seen as an efficient way to ensure that policy is tailored to the needs of disparate regions. How regional institutions respond to these challenges can vary considerably, with variations in institutional processes, policies and services.

The Panels will address the following issues:

Territorial integrity and secession: How do multi-level systems fail? What are the drivers of secessionism? What can federations do to maintain their territorial integrity? What are the strategies of autonomist parties to increase self-government? When do parties and voters switch their preferences from autonomy to secession?

Policy differences: Policy differences can be natural consequences of devolution and federalism, but which factors influence patterns of policy convergence and divergence between regions? What do these differences mean for the idea of a common citizenship?

Democracy and accountability: Have regional institutions encouraged democratic innovations or simply reproduced the same patterns of citizen engagement as the central government? Do different institutional designs, in particular in relation to the division of powers between levels and intergovernmental relations, have a different effect on the accountability and transparency on institutions?

Panel List

Code Title Details
P074Comparing Pro-Independence Movements: Motivations, Strategies and Discourses View Panel Details
P128Elections and Party Competition in Multilevel States View Panel Details
P148European Integration, Devolution and Secession View Panel Details
P189Governing and Reforming Multilevel Institutions View Panel Details
P341Political Parties and Party Strategies in Multilevel States View Panel Details
P364Public Policy and Diversity in Federations View Panel Details
P476The Politics of Shared Rule: Regional Power Beyond the Region View Panel Details
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