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Decentralizing for a deeper, more supple democracy

Faguet, Jean-Paul, Fox, Ashley M. and Pöschl, Caroline (2015) Decentralizing for a deeper, more supple democracy. Journal of Democracy, 26 (4). pp. 60-74. ISSN 1045-5736

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Well-designed decentralization can deepen democracy and strengthen the state in five key ways. Decentralizing below the level of social cleavages should undermine secessionism by peeling away moderates from radical leaders. The “fragmentation of authority” critique is mistaken; decentralization transforms the state from a simpler, brittler command structure to one of multilevel complementarity more robust to local failure. Decentralizing services with low economies of scale, with devolved taxation and bail-outs prohibited, should increase accountability. Lastly, the small scale of local politics allows citizens to become political actors, promoting social learning-by-doing, strengthening political legitimacy and ‘democratic suppleness’ from the grass-roots upwards.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2015 National Endowment for Democracy and Johns Hopkins University Press
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > International Development
Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2015 08:41
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2020 05:45

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