VIII. Working Group on Local Services and Infrastructure
Franco, Becchis, Scientific Director, Turin School of Local Regulation and Saint John International University, Italy
He has been the Scientific Director of the Foundation for the Environment since its creation, where he coordinates research programmes on the interaction between economics, energy and the environment and on local public services, as well as capacity building and support activities for local public entities. He is the Scientific Director of the initiative "Turin School of Local Regulation” and is the author and editor of the forthcoming handbook "The political economy of local regulation" published by Palgrave Macmillan. He has been a contract Professor in Environmental Economics at the Polytechnic of Torino, University of East Piedmont and Saint John International University. His scientific interests and his publications range from public economics to environmental and regulatory economics.
Daniel Klimovsky, Assistant Professor, Comenius University, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Slovakia
His research and educational activities focus on public administration, as well as political issues linked to sub-national levels. He is the Regional Studies Association Ambassador for Slovakia and a member of both the Management Committee and the Steering Committee of the COST IS 1207: Local Public Sector Reforms in Europe led by Professor S. Kuhlmann and Professor Geert Bouckaert. He is the main coordinator of the POL-LOC initiative, which includes more than 20 universities from 15 European countries. Aside from his academic activities, he cooperated with the Social Watch (2008-2011) and was a member of the Steering Committee of the Open Society Foundation in Slovakia (2012-2014), as well as an independent/external expert of the Council of Europe. Furthermore he has cooperated with central government in Slovakia and with several local governments and their associations.
The last comprehensive international study on inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) in Europe was elaborated by Hulst and van Montfort in 2007 who used data from the late 1990s and early 2000s, and since that time, the features of the IMC have been significantly developed across Europe. In addition, the authors of the mentioned study dealt with a rather limited number of countries, and especially the CEE countries are under-represented there.
The main goal of this call is to bring together scholars from different European countries and to provide for them an interesting platform to discuss specific features and developments of the IMC in their countries. We would like to support especially comparative papers, and within this context we want to encourage potential contributors to elaborate upon such papers. An important part of all papers will also be the lessons to be learned. Our intention is to provide an output which will be interesting, not only for scholars or researchers, but also for practitioners who would appreciate international experience with a phenomenon which seems to be somewhat familiar in all European countries.
Concerning the research questions, authors may try to focus on the following questions:
1) What is the history of the IMC in different European countries? What were the crucial milestones?
2) What are the motives of the collaboration initiatives at the local level? What are the main drivers of the IMC?
3) Who are the main initiators of the IMC?
4) What are the decision-making structures of the IMC? How efficient/democratic is decision-making within the IMC?
5) What outputs and outcomes are brought by the IMC (for individual members/for associations of collaborating municipalities)? Does it necessarily lead to mergers of municipalities (or establishment of mezzo-level governments)?
6) Are there any other alternatives which can be used instead of the IMC?