Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft
Frist: 05.04.2020

CfP – The reality of regional and local diversity, Budapest

EGPA 2020
PSG V ‘Regional and Local Government’

1 – 4 September 2020

Call for Papers
The reality of regional and local diversity ...

Sabine Kuhlmann, University of Potsdam, Germany (sabine.kuhlmannuni-potsdamde)
Martin Laffin, Queen Mary University of London, UK (m.laffinqmul.acuk)
Ellen Wayenberg, University of Ghent, Belgium (ellen.wayenbergugentbe)


Regional and local governments in Europe differ widely from institutional, political, fiscal, social, economic and policy perspectives. This call is for papers that contribute to our understanding of subnational diversity and its origins, development, challenges and significance.

Many commentators stress how regional and local governments are uniquely placed and have greater capacity to cope with society’s big challenges, such as over climate change, migration, public health and mobility, than national governments. The argument has been that they are well-placed to identify emerging problems and issues, to unravel their wickedness and respond flexibly and effectively. Accordingly, across Europe, sub-national (territorial, functional, organizational, managerial, fiscal, IT- related etc.) reforms have emerged to develop and support subnational self-governance.

These reforms have sometimes resulted in increasing degree of diversity across local and regional governance. At other times and in other places reforms have gone down the path of greater centralization, standardization and towards greater local and regional uniformity. In some cases, local governments have amalgamated, under hard or softer central pressure, to limit their scale and capacity range and assure more equivalence in national-level service-delivery standards for their inhabitants. In other cases, regional tasks and management procedures are centrally determined or horizontally diffused and spread through similar (international) reform discourses, learning processes and imitation. Consequently, more uniform ways of working across a country’s territory emerge (e.g. resulting from digital transformation, managerial, accounting, budgetary etc. reforms, the streamlining/harmonization of municipal charters and other legal provisions which guide sub-national action)

The aim of the Study Group session will be to use these trends as a basis to assess the direction of change across European regional and local governments against the evidence and to develop a greater conceptual, empirical, methodological, and normative understanding of that direction. We are particularly interested in papers which address the following questions:

  • How is (institutional, political, cultural, fiscal, policy-related) diversity among local and/or regional governments within and across countries defined and what are the major characteristerics? What policy frames are in use? By whom and why?
  • Does the diversity amongst subnational institutions/size/culture/functional profiles etc. make a difference for actor behaviour, service delivery, capacities, performance etc.? What difference? Why do differences/similarities occur and (do they) make sense?
  • How can we measure/assess differences/similarities? What clusters of local/sub-national government profiles/types make sense?
  • Are there trends towards greater convergence/divergence among local and/or regional governments? Why and where?
  • Why do differences/varieties pertain over time and under which circumstances can we observe system changes (resulting on more/less convergence/divergence)? Why and how is “context”significant? How do certain characteristics of LG systems impact on performance, behaviour, perceptions, acceptance, trust, reform capacity etc.?

We are particularly keen to welcome papers which seek to deliver empirical, research-based arguments and build a theoretical understanding of these issues; and papers which adopt a comparative approach, be it ‘over time’, ‘cross-countries’, or ‘cross-service’. We are also particularly keen to include papers from Eastern and Southern Europe as well as Western Europe.

Abstracts should be submitted by the 5th of April 2020. Abstracts should be uploaded through the EGPA submission website (...). At this point the Study Group organisers will liaise with the organisers of SG IV Local Democracy and Governance to ensure that the papers in each SG address the specifications in the Calls and to ensure a balance of papers across the two SGs.

Notification of acceptance will be no later than the 25th of May 2020. Those authors whose abstracts have been accepted should dispatch their completed paper to the convenors and upload it through the submission website by the 10th of August 2020.

Please note that PSG IV on Local Governance and Democracy and PSG V on Regional and Local Government will be liaising with each other for the 2020 conference to ensure that papers are allocated to both groups in a coordinated manner.