The Lost Dimension of Swiss Federalism: Democracy Problems of New Regionalism in Metropolitan Areas

  • Daniel Kübler


Emerging in the 1990s, the concept of new regionalism focuses on the building of area-wide metropolitan governance through networks of voluntary cooper- ation rather than through institutional consolidation (‘old regionalism’). This chapter focuses on a yet under-investigated aspect of new regionalism, namely its effects on the relationship between citizens and the state. In the first, conceptual, section three hypotheses are developed on how new regionalism impacts on service satisfaction, government loyalty as well as democratic legitimacy. The second section tests these hypotheses using case study evidence and survey data from four Swiss metropolitan areas (Zurich, Lausanne, Lucerne, Lugano). The results suggest that ‘new regionalism’ has no significant effect on service satisfaction or government loyalty, but reduces democratic legitimacy. A closer look at intervening variables reveals that size of communes and institutional consolidation of metropolitan areas pla a stronger role than the type of regionalism. Hence, efforts to increase area- wide governance capacity in Swiss metropolitan areas should pursue ‘old’ rather than ‘new regionalism’.


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© Daniel Kübler 2005

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  • Daniel Kübler

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