How Bureaucratic Networks Make Intergovernmental Relations Work: A Mechanism Perspective

  • Nathalie BehnkeEmail author
Part of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series (COMPTPOL)


While intergovernmental negotiations in multilevel systems are typically fraught with conflict and potential deadlock due to conflict of interest, this chapter argues that the specific role of bureaucrats in those negotiations is a key to understanding successful decision-making in intergovernmental arenas. Public servants differ from politicians in relevant respects: being not subject to (re-)election, but appointed to office for long periods of time, they develop neutral and expert positions on issues. Also, in repeated rounds of interaction trust and reciprocity evolve, helping them to smoothen negotiations. Based on a network survey and expert interviews among German bureaucrats, this chapter shows that those mechanisms are indeed at work and can be transferred to other multilevel systems, if certain scope conditions are met.


Bureaucrats Deadlock Intergovernmental relations Multilevel system Network 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Political ScienceTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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