Who Governs? Patterns of Responsiveness and Accountability

  • Andreas Ladner
  • Nicolas Keuffer
  • Harald Baldersheim
  • Nikos Hlepas
  • Pawel Swianiewicz
  • Kristof Steyvers
  • Carmen Navarro
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


A basic argument of this chapter is that an analysis of local government systems should take into consideration the double role of local authorities: governance for the sake of the citizens’ community and for the sake of the state. Focusing on the accountability and responsiveness of decision-makers, we argue that these are the main configuring factors for different versions of local political communities. Using dimensions of the local autonomy index (LAI), we elaborate four models of community governance. The distribution of countries has been examined for 1990, 2005 and 2014, and it was found that the strongest type of “self-determined community” included the biggest number of countries, while the weakest type of “patronized community” gradually became a rare exception. The shift away from supra-local and towards local orientation was comparatively stronger in responsiveness than in accountability, especially among ex-communist countries. Finally, a considerable mobility across types was recorded in Eastern and Southern Europe, while stability characterised the rest. Future research should try to detect factors explaining persistence and change, furthermore the eventual effects of different community types upon attitudes and perceptions of both citizens and politicians.


Local political community Local government typologies Responsiveness Accountability Local citizenry 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Ladner
    • 1
  • Nicolas Keuffer
    • 1
  • Harald Baldersheim
    • 2
  • Nikos Hlepas
    • 3
  • Pawel Swianiewicz
    • 4
  • Kristof Steyvers
    • 5
  • Carmen Navarro
    • 6
  1. 1.IDHEAPUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.National and Kapodistrian University of AthensAthensGreece
  4. 4.Department of Local Development and Policy, Faculty of Geography and Regional StudiesUniversity of WarsawWarszawaPoland
  5. 5.Department of Political ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Political ScienceUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain

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