Reforming the Swiss Municipalities: Efficiency or Democracy?
Swiss local level reforms fit quite well into the international pattern. As in many other countries, municipalities introduced New Public Management, increased intermunicipal cooperation, amalgamated with other municipalities and tried to improve the functioning of the authorities and the decision-making process. Whereas intermunicipal cooperation and the merging of municipalities aimed at making service provision at local level more efficient and at increasing the quality of the services provided, New Public Management reforms tried to improve the municipalities’ capacity to act and aimed at moving closer to citizens by increasing customer orientation. Altogether, the reforms cannot be regarded as an attempt trying to downsize the state sector. However, strengthening the input-side of democracy by moving decisional power to the citizens was of lesser importance in Swiss municipalities than in other countries. This is mainly due to the far-reaching direct democratic rights of Swiss citizens.
KeywordsPublic Management Direct Democracy Small Municipality Reform Activity Reform Project
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