Multilevel Governance and Accountability: Does Decentralization Promote Good Governance?
Today, the trend towards decentralization is far-reaching. Proponents of decentralization have argued that decentralization promotes responsive and accountable local government by shortening the distance between local representatives and their constituency. However, in this paper, I focus on the countervailing effect of decentralization on the accountability mechanism, arguing that decentralization, which increases the number of actors eligible for policy making and implementation in governance as a whole, may blur lines of responsibility, thus weakening citizens’ ability to sanction government in election. By using the ordinary least squares (OLS) interaction model based on historical panel data for 78 countries in the 2002 – 2010 period, I test the hypothesis that as the number of government tiers increases, there will be a negative interaction between the number of government tiers and decentralization policies. The regression results show empirical evidence that decentralization policies, having a positive impact on governance under a relatively simple form of multilevel governance, have no more statistically significant effects as the complexity of government structure exceeds a certain degree. In particular, this paper found that the presence of intergovernmental meeting with legally binding authority have a negative impact on governance when the complexity of government structure reaches to the highest level.
The Quality of Government
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