Subordination or Partnership?: Changing Institutional Relationships in Comparative Perspective

  • Jon Pierre
  • B. Guy Peters


Recent changes in intergovernmental relationships in the Western democracies offer plenty of useful illustrations to the discussion on the role of political institutions in increasingly complex political and economic settings. To be sure, from the point of view of central government it could even be argued that these recent changes exacerbate the messiness of governance rather than helping to manage complexity. The wave of decentralization that has swept across the Western world is to some extent proof of a growing need among political institutions to increase their points of contact and exchange with the surrounding society. However, in implementing these reforms central government has also put itself in the awkward position of significantly reducing its abilities to control subnational government. This chapter looks more closely at how these developments in intergovernmental relationships relate to the management of complexity and the extent to which these emerging institutional arrangements could be seen as part of the problem or of the solution.


Local Government Central Government Welfare State Institutional Change Political Institution 
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Copyright information

© Jon Pierre and B. Guy Peters 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Pierre
    • 1
  • B. Guy Peters
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GothenburgSweden
  2. 2.University of PittsburghUSA

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