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Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen x Jaar 2019 x Rubriek Article x

    In this article in the series on the local democratic audit, the authors discuss the relationship between decentralization, scaling-up and local democracy. Decentralizations and scaling-up operations have changed the face of local government in the Netherlands considerably in recent decades. What have the consequences for the functioning of local democracy been? Although decentralizations aim to increase democratic control of government tasks, decentralizations appear to have weakened local democracy in two ways. First of all, they have led to a substantial scaling-up of the local government, through municipal amalgamations and especially through the formation of regional partnerships. Regionalization in particular has had all kinds of negative consequences for the functioning of local democracy. Decentralization policy itself has also weakened the steering and controlling role of the city council – certainly in the short term – while decentralization presupposes that the city council has a strong role in coordinating decentralized policy with local wishes and circumstances. We can speak of a ‘double decentralization paradox’ that entails both bottlenecks and opportunities. From the legislator’s side, therefore, an integral vision for the organization of domestic governance is needed.


Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC en tevens redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.
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