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WG_News :: About WG :: Coordinators :: Activities :: WG_outputs
Activities: Working Group on Local Government
 
Call for papers 2020
 

WG Programme Coordinators:

•    Michiel S de Vries, Chair of the department of Public Administration, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, m.devries@fm.ru.nl
•    Daniel Klimovský, Comenius University in Bratislava, Faculty of Arts, Department of Political Science, daniel.klimovsky@gmail.com
•    Tim Jäkel, National Research University Higher School of Economics: School of Public Administration, Russia, tjekel@hse.ru


The Working group on Local Governance deals with all sub-national levels of governance from several points of view: regulation, structure, organisation, functioning, finance, representation, election, public policies etc. The WG especially welcomes empirical research results, comparative analysis, theoretical contributions and, of course, interdisciplinary approaches are supported.

The working group invites papers dealing with topics such as:
  
•Local democracy, the role of councils, new forms of participation,
•New horizontal linkages between local governments and state agencies in public service delivery,
•Size, scales, capacities, cooperation of municipalities,
•New challenges in public policy at local and regional level,
•The context in which local governments have to operate,
•Stakeholders inside the municipality,
•Intergovernmental relations between the local, regional, national and European levels.

For the next conference the working groups especially invite papers on the sustainability of arrangements as mentioned above and the role, promises and evaluation of the increasing use of digitalisation. Digitalisation promises to bring local government closer to the people at lower costs. Digitalisation comes at significant cost to overcome sentiments amongst employees, infrastructure, cyber security, and training measures. Digitalisation is associated with serious risks: Replacing analogous by digital services creates barriers for older people and residents in remote areas (digital gap).
 
Potential research questions are:
 
•What are the best practices in digitalisation of local public service delivery in CEE countries?
•How do local governments address various risks associated with digitalisation? What risk-management routines were put in place?
•What are the obstacles to the implementation of digitalisation strategies? Why do some local governments successfully foster digitalisation while others do not?
•How do citizens perceive digitalised public services? To what extent do attitudes towards and usage of digital services vary by age, income, gender, or political preferences?
•Does digitalisation improve trust in local government?


Thus, although general papers on developments in local government in CEE countries are still welcome, we invite especially theoretical and empirical papers that address the issues mentioned above.
 
Proposals for papers should include the following:

1.The names of the authors and their affiliation.
2.The research question to be answered in the paper.
3.The way in which the research question is going to be answered.
4. Information about the case(s)/data to be analysed.
5.The relevance of the paper for the working group.
 
Activities in 2019
 
Meeting of the Working Group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:
Michiel S de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Daniel Klimovsky, Comenius University, Slovakia

Place: 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Prague, Czech Republic
Date: May 24-26, 2019
 
25 very good papers were presented in the frame of 5 working group sessions:

Session 1: Organisation and management / Local Self-government
Session 2: Local Democracy / Local Participation / Co-production
Session 3: The Context of Local Government
Session 4: From Policy Design to Policy Practice in the European Integration Context (ERASMUS+ Jean Monnet Project PRACTIC)
Session 5: Local Finances

All sessions were very well attended.

The main issues addressed concentrated on three themes:

1. The changing relation between local government and its citizens,
2. the dynamics in the context of local government, regarding local government’s position vis-à-vis regional, national and international government, and
3. the financial problems local governments are increasingly faced with.

A main issue addressed was the relation of local government with its residents, in the form of co-production, local democracy, public participation, and/or co-creation. This subject remains important in itself, but it was also observed during the Working Group sessions that it is important to take the effects on democratic developments into account when analysing developments of local government in inter-municipal cooperation in all its different forms (amalgamations, cooperation, administrative mergers) and in the changing relations vis-à-vis mid-level governments, national governments (centralisation and decentralisation), and the European Union. Hence, facilitators and inhibitors, concerns and expectations of, conflicts and cooperation in such administrative arrangements, were discussed.

Regarding the papers on financial issues facing local governments, the factors explaining these problems and the solutions sought were, in themselves, very interesting. However, given the enormous amount of papers submitted to this working group and the fact that there is a working group in NISPAcee that specifically deals with public finance, we asked the presenters of such papers whether they would mind if, next year, papers such as theirs were transferred to that working group. No-one objected to this.   
 
Activities in 2018
 
Meeting of the Working Group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:
Michiel S de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Ilona Pálné Kovács, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, University of Pécs, Hungary
Daniel Klimovsky, Comenius University, Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Slovakia (Session 3)

Place: 26th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Iasi, Romania
Date:  May 24-26, 2018

The focus of the WP was on local government reports and consequences, especially on the trend of centralisation, but also on the attempts to improve efficiency in local and regional decision-making.
Our working group meetings were held five times with 19 papers presented by scholars from several countries (Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Kazakhstan Russia, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Hungary).

One of the main topics was the tendency of recentralization in, amongst others, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Kazakhstan and VISEGRAD countries. Another major topic discussed was that of local leadership and especially the role of mayors in municipalities. A third topic discussed was local policy making with regard to homelessness, local finances, and local marketing etc. The last and major topic discussed concerned the impact of size on local capacity.
The approaches were really broad, from local democracy and participation, finance and smart cities, to marketing and local and regional economic development. Most of the papers were based on primary data from empirical researches, providing insight into new methodological tools and new theoretical considerations. It is worthy of note that many papers were products of international co-operation and comparison.  
The papers and the discussions were, of course, very diverse but some messages were agreed by the participants. We need a much deeper knowledge and evidence of the real consequences of territorial and public policy reforms because international measures alone are not sufficient to understand what is going on in the special national and local context. It was also realised that perhaps we have to revise our ideas about the role of the size and scale, and more focus is required on capacity and leadership. Several papers provided research findings about the crucial role of mayors, and of the relationships between administration and politics, of local knowledge and legitimacy.    
We were pleased with and grateful to the organisers and presenters for the opportunity to learn and exchange ideas about some very timely and complex questions of local governance.

WP Plan for the 2019 annual conference
During the final session we asked participants which topics should be raised for the next conference.
These included:
•    Local democracy, the role of the councils and new forms of participation.
•    New, horizontal linkages between local governments and state agencies in public service delivery.
•    Size, scales, capacities, cooperation of municipalities.
•    New challenges in public policy at local and regional levels.
This resulted in the idea to make the context in which local governments have to operate with stakeholders inside the municipality, and intergovernmental relations between the local, regional, national and European levels, to be the central focus of this working group next year.

Activities in 2017

Meeting of the Working Group on PA Reform
WG Programme Coordinators:

Michiel de Vries, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Ilona Palne Kovac, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pecs, Hungary

 
Place:  25th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russian Federation
Date:  May 18-20, 2017
 

The original idea was to focus on the effect of local government size, collecting the specific features of settlements of different sizes from the smallest up to the capital cities and even larger agglomerations. However, the topics discussed in the papers presented were much broader and ranged from centralisation tendencies, inter-municipal cooperation, city branding, public participation and information exchange within municipalities.

There were three working group meetings with nine papers, presented by scholars from several countries (Russia, The Netherlands, Sweden, Russia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic).

It is hard to summarise the main message of the sessions, but it became clear that size does matter and public administration has to cope with the different challenges of many kinds of territorial units and settlements. It was mentioned that scientific, empirical, theoretical researches and involvement by practitioners are all needed to identify the problems and appropriate solutions. It was agreed that not only the territorial, structural reforms (rescaling, integration, enlargement etc.) could be used, but also rather more flexible instruments (cooperation, planning, partnerships) which are bridging the gaps between the steadily changing geography of PA and the less flexible organisational setting.

An interesting question was presented and discussed, that being the special position of the capital in the government system, to be precise, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being the capital? The topic deserves comparative research in the future.

Centralisation, as the other main challenge, was also discussed in some papers (e.g. Hungarian scholars’ papers) and during the discussion possibly the most important point was whether or not we have sufficient knowledge of the real consequences of centralisation. How do we evaluate and compare the quality and costs of public services provided by local governments or state agencies?

Not only aspects of PA science but also regional and economic development are relevant in order to know more about the linkages between size and performance.

 

Activities in 2016

Meeting of the Working Group on Local Government
WG Programme Coordinators:

Arto Haveri, Local Government Studies, University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Finland
Katarzyna Radzik-Maruszak, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland

Place:  24th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Zagreb. Croatia
Date:  May 19-21, 2016
 
The 9th year of the Working Group on Local Government focused on the causes of decentralisation of local government systems in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Fifteen papers were presented in the four sessions. The geographical coverage was fairly good. The biggest group came again from Poland and other presenters came from the Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, Macedonia, Estonia and Romania.  The quality of presentations was good this year, but again there were not many cross-country comparisons. Most papers focused on decentralisation questions, as was requested in the CFP, presenting country cases, local economic development policy and inter-municipal cooperation - all topics that were dealt with in many presentations.
 

 
Activities in 2015

Meeting of the Working Group on Local Government
WG Programme Coordinators:

Gabor Soos, Political Science Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Arto Haveri,
Local Government Studies, University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Finland


Place:  23rd NISPAcee Annual Conference, Tbilisi, Georgia
Date:  May 21-23, 2015
 

The 8th year of the Working Group on Local Government focused on Leadership in Local Government in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Beyond this year's theme one of the panels was devoted to Europeanization and one to papers dealing with topics which are not related to local government leadership, but which otherwise contributed to local government studies in CEE and CIS.

Nine papers were presented (of the accepted 21 abstracts) in the four sessions (two papers in the Europeanization session). The geographical coverage was not as good as it has been the previous years. The biggest group came from Poland, other presenters came from Lithuania, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia. This year too, cross-country comparisons were not many, although they were particularly encouraged. But there were some very interesting empirical papers (country studies) analyzing local government reforms and leadership institutions and structures at the local level. As with each year, some papers concentrated on local government systems.

 
 

 

Activities in 2014:

Meeting of the Working group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:


Gabor Soos, Political Science Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Arto Haveri,
Local Government Studies, University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Finland
 

Place:  The 22nd NISPAcee Annual Conference, Budapest, Hungary
Date:  May 22-24, 2014
 

In the line with the general theme of the conference, the 7th year of the Working Group on Local Government focused on the dynamics between

government- and governance-oriented developments at the local level in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

The number of applications was 38, slightly lower than in previous years. 22 abstracts were accepted and 15 papers presented in the four sessions. The geographical coverage was reasonable good. The biggest group came from Hungary, but there were papers also from Poland, Romania, Russia, Lithuania, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia and Estonia This year too, cross-country comparisons were not many, although they were particularly encouraged. However, two interesting comparative papers were presented, both connected with the topic of the working group. As with each year, a set of papers concentrated on local government systems and reforms as a major determinant of local government development. Issues of good governance and citizen participation where also handled in several papers.

 
 

 

Activities in 2013:

Meeting of the Working group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:


Gabor Soos, Political Science Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Arto Haveri,
Local Government Studies, University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Finland


Place:  The 21st NISPAcee Annual Conference, Belgrade, Serbia
Date:  May 16-18, 2013
 
Topic: "Regionalisation and local governments" 

In the line with the general theme of the conference, the working group focused on the relationship of regionalisation and local governance in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

 
Both the functional needs of public administration and the requirements of the EU structural funds led several countries in CEE to establish er to reform the middle level between the central and local government tiers.
 
The general aim of the working group was based on the relations of the CEE or CIS problems, do regional-loval relationships live up to the normative expectations and highligh of the similarities and differences between countries or regions.
 

 
 
 
 
 
Activities in 2012:


Meeting of the Working group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:


Gabor Soos, Political Science Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Arto Haveri,
Local Government Studies, University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Finland

Place: The 20th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia

Date: May 23-26, 2012


Topic: Local autonomy in the context of administrative reforms.


The fifth year of the WG was held in Ohrid, Macedina and focused on the state and development of local government/municipal autonomy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Autonomy was approached from the viewpoint of constitutional/legislative autonomy, control over resources, and political independence from central influence.

 

The number of applications was higher than in previous years. Unlike past years, the geographical coverage was less widespread. Most presenters came from only three countries - Poland, Romania, Russia - plus we had one presentation from Latvia and another from Estonia.

 

The trend of professionalisation continued in Ohrid. Presenters observed the time limits, focused on the main points, and used the projector. Whilst the papers were at various levels of maturity, they were mostly concise and well-structured.

 

This year too, coordinators missed cross-country comparisons. Only one paper was really comparative, the others focused on one country. As with each year, a set of papers concentrated on public administration reforms as a major determinant of local autonomy. One of the papers examined the effect of EU funds on the local room for manoeuvre. Some papers focused on local democracy by discussing the opportunities and limits of public participation and the direct election of mayors.

 

WG members discussed next year’s conference topic for the working group in two of the sessions. Following the general theme of the 21st annual conference, the WG decided to prepare a Call for Papers on Regionalism. Specifically, our research questions will revolve around the effect of regional reforms on local governments and the impact of EU policies on regionalism.


Call for Papers 2012

 

Activities in 2011:

Meeting of the Working group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:


Gabor Soos, Political Science Institute of Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Arto Haveri,
Local Government Studies, University of Tampere, Faculty of Economics and Administration, Finland

Place: The 19th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Varna, Bulgaria

Date: May 19-22, 2011

Topic: From the Past to the Future: How does history matter for the development of local governments in CEE?

The fourth year of the Working Group on Local Government focused on the relevance of history for the future of local governments in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The workshops explored how past developments have influenced the decisions and opportunities of local governments.

 

Few papers adhered strictly to the original idea of the Call, namely an exploration of the causal mechanisms between past and present. Still, most papers were rich in detail of process tracing, and could be published after a reasonable amount of revision. The coordinators felt that there was a lack of cross-country comparisons, and would like to encourage more comparative papers in the future. A set of papers were presented on the ongoing regional reform in Romania, the development of local autonomy in Estonia, Slovakia, Poland, Slovakia and Kirghizstan, and the capacity and quality of local government in countries such as Macedonia, Russia and Bulgaria.

 
Next year’s conference topic was also discussed. The group will focus on local government (municipal) autonomy, especially the state and development of local autonomy in different countries and in the context of public sector reforms. Papers may also discuss such issues as the concept of local autonomy and the different outcomes of local autonomy (or lack thereof).

 

Activities in 2010:

Meeting of the Working group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:


Gabor Soos, Tocqueville Research Center, Budapest, Hungary
Temmes Markku, University of Helsinki, Department of Political Science, Finland


Place: The 18th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Warsaw, Poland
Date: May 12-14, 2010


Topic: Impacts of the crisis and of the role of local government

 

The WG had a very active and successful meeting, consisting of 5 sessions and 16 presentations from 10 countries. We were also happy to receive (for the third time in a row) the award for young researcher in our group. The debate emphasised the impacts of the crisis at the local level, which is responsible for the basic welfare services in society. Of course, the negative impacts played an important role in the presentations but there was also substantial benchmarking information on the positive impacts, such as opportunities for reform, cutbacks in construction prices and an easier situation in the labour market for public organisations etc.

 

The WG had interesting and comprehensive discussions on the short-term/long-term impacts of the crisis and of the role of local government in solving those impacts. Relations between central, regional and local administration were also presented in those discussions, as well as the changes related to the crisis. The various impacts of the crisis in urban and rural areas were also one of the interesting themes within the group.

 

In the final debate of the group, an idea was put forward to answer the need for deeper research and analysis of the historical roots of local government in CEE countries. Our preliminary proposal, as a next conference sub-theme in the group, is to concentrate on the past and basic history of local governments in CEE countries and try to connect our findings with the challenges for the future.


The Award ‘NISPAcee Best Graduate Student Paper’ was presented to the winner Dana Mihaela Murgescu, Romania, PhD student at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania for her paper ‘The Influence of the Global Economic Crisis on Regional Differences in Romania’.

 

Call for Papers 2010



The book: "The Metropolitan CEE Big Cities, Capitals and City-regions in Central and Eastern Europe” was printed.

The focus on metropolitan areas or city-regions turned out to be important and interesting in the CEE environment. City-regions have increasing importance as engines in development of global economy. The transition countries have real challenges to join global economy on new basis of market economy instead of communistic command economy. There are many interesting examples of the models and development tools with which the CEE countries are supporting their metropolitans to catalyze national economic development but at same time one can find out serious problems in general conditions concerning structural positions of the city administration in the CEE.

Several presentations of this book tackle challenges and threats of urbanization and the national models but it is also question of general decentralization development.

The WG coordinators can summarize their findings concerning decentralization needs and challenges in the CEE:

  • One of great challenges in the CEE countries in near future will be decentralization development. In fact, a long wave of decentralization obviously will dominate administrative reforms policies in these countries for a long time.
  • In the CEE countries decentralization development will have a relevant role in increasing democracy in the grass root level of liberal democracy.
  • In the CEE countries, the power structures and steering systems are seeking a well functioning balance between centralized coordination and decentralized self governance.
  • NPM-type reforms will be also in the CEE countries useful "short ways” into more decentralized societies but this doctrine includes elements which are difficult to control and could create unexpected impacts.
  • Urban development and especially metropolitan development are interesting sub-issues in general decentralization elements in unifying Europe.
  • Lead agency development is an important part of administrative reform policies in the CEE countries also in the regional and local levels.

This book tries to raise the debate on many interesting issues and questions around city-administration of the CEE countries. The coordinators also try to focus on transition view which means questions and answers on development of post-communistic societies.


Based on the contribution of LGI and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, Helsinki, Finland  the publication could be prepared, printed and distributed in the NISPAcee region.



Activity in 2009:

Meeting of the Working group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:


Gabor Soos, Tocqueville Research Center, Budapest, Hungary
Temmes Markku, University of Helsinki, Department of Political Science, Finland

 

Place: The 17th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Budva, Montenegro
Date: May 14-16, 2009

 

Topic: Governance of City – regions in CEE and NIS countries

In the secon phase the  WG focused on the problems and challenges of city-regions, metropolitan areas and capital cities. This focus turned out to be important and interesting in the CEE environment. City-regions have increasing importance as engines in the development of a global economy. In some presentations, there were interesting examples of the models with which CEE countries are supporting their metropolitans to catalyse national economic development. City-regions also represent the marvellous historical heritage of European urban culture. The CEE area and Central Asia are full of interesting city-regions with a long history of urbanisation. Several presentations tackled the challenges and threats of urbanisation and the national models to steer development in former communist countries.

 

The WG concentrated on three sub-themes to cover city-region development issues – development, governance and decentralisation problems. The WG plans to continue its work in the next conference by focusing on the local impacts and challenges of the global crisis. The WG is planning a publication around city-region themes in the CEE environment. The working title could be The Urban CEE. The idea is to describe and analyse urban development in the transition environment. The presentations at the Budva conference will provide a solid basis for this kind of publication. The content of the publication will be finalised during the summer of 2009. Depending on the results of the presentations at the next conference, the WG has plans to produce a second publication concerning the impacts of the economic crisis on local government in the CEE countries. A volume was published with 10 papers and presented at the conference.

 

Call for Papers 2009

 

 

Activity in 2008:


Meeting of the Working group on Local Government

WG Programme Coordinators:


Gabor Soos, Tocqueville Research Center, Budapest, Hungary
Temmes Markku, University of Helsinki, Department of Political Science, Finland

 

Place: The 16th NISPAcee Annual Conference, Bratislava, Slovakia
Date: May 15-17, 2008

The working group met for the first time at the annual NISPAcee conference in Bratislava in May, 2008.

The papers presented the experiences of local government and decentralisation in the 12 CEE countries. The scope of the themes was also wide from the general experiences in reorganising local government to many specific themes of local activities and decentralisation.

 

The presentations and discussions in the working group proved that much development had already taken place in local government development in CEE countries. It was also clear that this development had created more differences between national local government models between these countries. The need to have more comparative research and analysis of successes and failures in various countries was obvious.
Depending on the quality of paper contributions, the group is expected to produce a book manuscript by the end of 2009 or 2010.

NISPAcee launched a new competition for theNISPAcee Best Graduate Student Paper of the conference in 2006. The award for the year 2008 was presented to the winner, the member of the WG - Ms. Mavisakalyan Astghik from Armenia for her paper: „Development priorities in an emerging decentralized economy: The case of Armenia local development programs".

Call for Papers 2008


Conference Programme 2008

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