Skip to main content Accessibility help

Unraveling the Central State, but How? Types of Multi-level Governance


The reallocation of authority upward, downward, and sideways from central states has drawn attention from a growing number of scholars in political science. Yet beyond agreement that governance has become (and should be) multi-level, there is no consensus about how it should be organized. This article draws on several literatures to distinguish two types of multi-level governance. One type conceives of dispersion of authority to general-purpose, nonintersecting, and durable jurisdictions. A second type of governance conceives of task-specific, intersecting, and flexible jurisdictions. We conclude by specifying the virtues of each type of governance.For comments and advice we are grateful to Christopher Ansell, Ian Bache, Richard Balme, Arthur Benz, Tanja Börzel, Renaud Dehousse, Burkard Eberlein, Peter Hall, Edgar Grande, Richard Haesly, Bob Jessop, Beate Kohler-Koch, David Lake, Patrick Le Galés, Christiane Lemke, David Lowery, Michael McGinnis, Andrew Moravcsik, Elinor Ostrom, Franz U. Pappi, Thomas Risse, James Rosenau, Alberta Sbragia, Philippe Schmitter, Ulf Sverdrup, Christian Tusschoff, Bernhard Wessels, the political science discussion group at the University of North Carolina, and the editor and three anonymous reviewers of APSR. We received institutional support from the Center for European Studies at the University of North Carolina, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung in Berlin. Earlier versions were presented at the European Union Studies Association meeting, the ECPR pan-European Conference in Bordeaux, and Hannover Universität, Harvard University, Humboldt Universität, Indiana University at Bloomington, Mannheim Universität, Sheffield University, Sciences Po (Paris), Technische Universität München, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The authors' names appear in alphabetical order.

Hide All
Alesina Alberto Spolaore Enrico 1997 On the Number and Size of Nations Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 1027-56
Ansell Christopher 2000 The Networked Polity: Regional Development in Western Europe Governance 12 303-33
Bache Ian Matthew Flinders N.d Multi-Level Governance in Theory and Practice Oxford Oxford University Press Forthcoming
Benz Arthur 2000 Two Types of Multi-Level Governance: Intergovernmental Relations in German and European Union Regional Policy Regional and Federal Studies 10 21 44
Blatter Joachim K. 2001 Debordering the World of States: Towards a Multi-Level System in Europe and a Multi-Polity System in North America? Insights from Border Regions European Journal of International Relations 7 175 209
Börzel> Tanja Risse Thomas 2000 Who Is Afraid of a European Federation? How to Constitutionalize a Multi-Level Governance System? What Kind of Constitution for What Kind of Polity? Responses to Joschka Fischer Christian Joerges Yves Mény J. H. H. Weiler Florence European University Institute
Buchanan James 1965 An Economic Theory of Clubs Economica 32 1 14
Cai Hongbin Treisman Daniel 2001 State-Corroding Federalism: Interjurisdictional Competition and the Weakening of Central Authority Unpublished ms
Caporaso James A. 2000 Changes in the Westphalian Order: Territory, Public Authority, and Sovereignty International Studies Review 2 1 28
Casella Alessandra Frey Bruno 1992 Federalism and Clubs. Towards An Economic Theory of Overlapping Political Jurisdictions European Economic Review 36 639-46
Casella Alessandra Barry R. Weingast 1995 Elements of a Theory of Jurisdictional Change Politics and Institutions in an Integrated Europe Barry Eichengreen Jeffry Frieden Jürgen von Hagen New York/Heidelberg Springer Verlag 11 41
Chisholm Donald 1989 Coordination Without Hierarchy. Informal Structures in Multiorganizational Systems Berkeley University of California Press
Clark William C. 2000 Environmental Globalization Governance in a Globalizing World Joseph Nye John D. Donahue Washington, DC Brookings Institution 86 108
Dowding Keith John Peter Stephen Biggs 1994 Tiebout: A Survey of the Empirical Literature Urban Studies 31 767-97
Downs Anthony 1994 New Visions for Metropolitan America Washington, DC Brookings Institution
Eichenberger Reiner Frey Bruno 2001 Enlarging the Union in Europe and Beyond. Towards Flexible and Democratic Integration via FOCJ Unpublished ms
Elazar Daniel J. 1987 Exploring Federalism Tuscaloosa University of Alabama Press
European Commission 2001 Enhancing Democracy: A White Paper on Governance in the European Union. Brussels >< (March 31, 2002)
Eurostat 1999 Regions: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics <> (April 10, 2002)
Foster Kathryn A. 1997 The Political Economy of Special-Purpose Government Washington, DC Georgetown University Press
Frey Bruno Eichenberger Reiner 1999 The New Democratic Federalism for Europe. Functional, Overlapping, and Competing Jurisdictions Cheltenham Edward Elgar
Frug Gerald 1999 City Making: Building Communities Without Building Walls Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
Garman Christopher Haggard Stephan Willis Eliza 2001 Fiscal Decentralization: A Political Theory with Latin American Cases World Politics 53 205-36
Grande Edgar 2000 Wie problemlösungsfähig ist die European Union? regieren im europäischen Mehrebenensystem Baden-Baden Nomos Verlag
Gray Virginia 1973 Innovation in the States: A diffusion Study American Political Science Review 67 1174-85
Héritier Adrienne 2002 Common Goods: Reinventing European and International Governance Lanham, MD Rowman and Littlefield
Hiscox Michael Lake David 2002 Democracy and the Size of States Unpublished ms
Hooghe Liesbet 1996 Cohesion Policy and European Integration: Building Multi-Level Governance Oxford Oxford University Press
Hooghe Liesbet Marks Gary 2001 Multi-Level Governance and European Integration Lanham, MD Rowman & Littlefield
Hooghe Liesbet Marks Gary Wilson Carole 2002 Does Left/Right Structure Party Positions on European Integration? Comparative Political Studies 35 965-89
Inman Robert P. Rubinfeld Daniel 1992 Fiscal Federalism in Europe: Lessons from the United States Experience European Economic Review 36 654-60
Jeffery Charlie 1996 The Regional Dimension of the European Union: Towards A Third Level in Europe? London Frank Cass
Joerges Christian Mény Yves Weiler J. H. H. 2000 What Kind of Constitution for What Kind of Polity? Responses to Joschka Fischer Florence European University Institute
John Peter 2001 Local Governance in Western Europe London Sage
Kahler Miles Lake David A. 2003 Globalization and Governance: Definition, Variation, and Explanation Governance in a Global Economy: Political Authority in Transition Miles Kahler David Lake Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
Kaufman Herbert 1976 Are Government Organizations Immortal Washington, DC Brookings Institution
Keating Michael 1995 Size, Efficiency and Democracy: Consolidation, Fragmentation, and Public Choice Theories of Urban Politics David Judge Gerry Stoker London Sage 117–34
Keck Margaret Sikkink Kathryn 1998 Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press
Keohane Robert O. 1982 The Demand for International Regimes International Organization 36 325-55
Keohane Robert O. Nye Joseph S. Jr. 2000 Introduction Governance in a Globalizing World Joseph Nye John D. Donahue Washington, DC Brookings Institution 1 41
Kincaid John 2001 Devolution in the United States: Rhetoric and Reality The Federal Vision: Legitimacy and Levels of Governance in the United States and the European Union Kalypso Nicolaidis Robert Howse Oxford Oxford University Press 144-60
Kohler-Koch Beate Eising Rainer 1999 The Transformation of Governance in the European Union London Routledge
Krasner Stephen D. 1999 Sovereignty: Organized Hypocrisy Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
Lowery David 2000 A Transactions Costs Model of Metropolitan Governance: Allocation versus Redistribution in Urban America Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 10 49 78
Lowery David Lyons W. E. Ruth Hoogland DeHoog Teske Paul Schneider Mark Mintrom Michael Best Samuel 1995 The Empirical Evidence for Citizen Information and a Local Market for Public Goods American Political Science Review 89 705-9
Lyons William E. Lowery David 1989 Governmental Fragmentation vs. Consolidation: Five Public Choice Myths about Creating Informed, Involved, and Happy Citizens Public Administration Review 49 533-43
Majone Giandomenico 1998 Europe's ‘Democratic Deficit’: The Question of Standards European Law Journal 4 5 28
Marin Bernd Mayntz Renate 1991 Policy Networks. Empirical Evidence and Theoretical Considerations Frankfurt Campus/Verlag
Marks Gary 1993 Structural Policy and Multilevel Governance in the EC The State of the European Community Alan Cafruny Glenda Rosenthal Boulder, CO Lynne Rienner 391 411
Marks Gary Hooghe Liesbet 2000 Optimality and Authority: A Critique of Neo-Classical Theory Journal of Common Market Studies 38 795 816
McGinnis Michael D. 1999a Polycentric Governance and Development. Readings from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Ana-lysis Ann Arbor University of Michigan Press
McGinnis Michael D. 1999b Polycentricity and Local Public Economies. Readings from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis Ann Arbor University of Michigan Press
McGinnis Michael D. 2000 Polycentric Games and Institutions. Readings from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis Ann Arbor University of Michigan Press
McGuire Martin 1974 Group Segregation and Optimal Jurisdictions Journal of Political Economy 82 112-32
Nicolaidis Kalypso 2001 Conclusion: The Federal Vision Beyond the State The Federal Vision: Legitimacy and Levels of Governance in the United States and the European Union Kalypso Nicolaidis Robert Howse Oxford Oxford University Press 442-70
Norton Alan 1991 Western European Local Government in Comparative Perspective Local Government in Europe: Trends and Developments Richard Batley Gerry Stoker London Macmillan 21 40
Nye Joseph John D. Donahue 2000 Governance in a Globalizing World Washington, DC Brookings Institution
Oakerson Ronald J. 1999 Governing Local Public Economies: Creating the Civic Metropolis Oakland, CA ICS Press
Oates Wallace E. 1972 Fiscal Federalism New York Harcourt Brace Jovanovich
Oates Wallace E. 1999 An Essay on Fiscal Federalism Journal of Economic Literature 37 1120-49
Oates Wallace E. Schwab Robert M. 1988 Economic Competition among Jurisdictions: Efficiency Enhancing or Distortion Inducing Journal of Public Economics 35 333-54
O'Brien Robert et-al 2000 Contesting Global Governance: Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Ostrom Elinor 1972 Metropolitan Reform: Propositions Derived from Two Traditions Social Science Quarterly 53 474-93
Ostrom Elinor 1990 Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Ostrom Vincent Ostrom Elinor 1999 Public Goods and Public Choices Polycentricity and Local Public Economies. Readings from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis Michael McGinnis Ann Arbor University of Michigan Press 75 105
Ostrom Vincent Bish Robert Ostrom Elinor 1988 Local Government in the United States Oakland, CA ICS Press
Ostrom Vincent Tiebout Charles Warren Robert 1961 The Organization of Government in Metropolitan Areas: A Theoretical Inquiry American Political Science Review 55 831-42
Pappi Franz U. Henning Christian H. C. A. 1999 The Organization of Influence on the EC's Common Agricultural Policy: A Network Approach European Journal of Political Research 36 257-81
Perkmann Markus 1999 Building Governance Institutions across European Borders Regional Studies 33 657-67
Peters B. Guy. 1996 The Future of Governing. Four Emerging Models Kansas City University Press of Kansas
Peters B. Guy Pierre Jon 2000 Developments in Intergovernmental Relations: Towards Multi-Level Governance Policy and Politics 29 131-35
Peters B. Guy Jon Pierre N.d. Multi-level Governance: A Faustian Bargain? Multi-level Governance in Theory and Practice Ian Bache Matthew Flinders Oxford Oxford University Press Forthcoming
Peterson John 2001 The Choice for European Union Theorists: Establishing a Common Framework for Analysis European Journal of Political Research 39 289 318
Prodi Romano 2001 After the Reform: A Future Strategy for Europe as a Whole Presented at the International Bertelsmann Forum, Europe without Borders Berlin
Rhodes R. A. W. 2000 Governance and Public Administration Debating Governance: Authority, Steering, and Democracy Jon Pierre Oxford Oxford University Press 54 90
Risse-Kappen Thomas 1995 Bringing Transnational Relations Back in: Non-State Actors, Domestic Structures, and International Institutions Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Rodden Jonathan 2002 The Dilemma of Fiscal Federalism: Grants and Fiscal Performance Around the World American Journal of Political Science 46 670-87
Rodden Jonathan 2003 Comparative Federalism and Decentralization: On Meaning and Measurement Comparative Politics Forthcoming
Ronit Karsten Schneider Volker 1999 Global Governance through Private Organizations Governance 12 243-66
Rosenau James N. 1997 Along the Domestic Foreign Frontier. Exploring Governance in a Turbulent World Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Rosendal Kristin 2001 Impacts of Overlapping International Regimes: The Case of Biodiversity Global Governance 7 95 117
Ruggie John Gerard 1993 Territoriality and Beyond: Problematizing Modernity in International Relations International Organization 46 139-74
Sbragia Alberta 1993 The European Community: A Balancing Act Publius 23 23 38
Scharpf Fritz W. 1988 The Joint Decision Trap: Lessons from German Federalism and European Integration Public Administration 66 239-78
Scharpf Fritz W. 1997 Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research Boulder, CO Westview Press
Schmitter Philippe 1996 Examining the Present Euro-Polity with the Help of Past Theories Governance in the European Union Gary Marks Fritz Scharpf Philippe Schmitter Wolfgang Streeck London Thousand Oaks, CA Sage 121–50
Schmitter Philippe C. 2000 How to Democratize the European Union… And Why Bother? Lanham, MD Rowman and Littlefield
Schneider Mark 1989 The Competitive City: The Political Economy of Suburbia Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh Press
Shanks Cheryl Jacobson Harold K. Kaplan Jeffrey H. 1996 Inertia and Change in IGOs, 1981–1992 International Organization 50 593 627
Simeon Richard Cameron David 2000 Intergovernmental Relations and Democratic Citizenship Governance in the 21st Century B. Guy Peters Donald V. Savoie Montreal McGill/Queens University Press 58–118
Simon Herbert 1996 The Sciences of the Artificial Cambridge, MA MIT Press
Skogstad Grace 2001 Internationalization, Democracy and Food Safety Measures: The (II)Legitimacy of Consumer Preferences? Global Governance 7 293 316
Tiebout Charles 1956 A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures Journal of Political Economy 64 416-24
Treisman Daniel 1999 Political Decentralization and Economic Reform: A Game-Theoretic Analysis American Journal of Political Science 43 488 517
Tullock Gordon 1969 Federalism: Problems of Scale Public Choice 6 19 29
U.S. Bureau of the Census 1999 1997 Census of Governments GC97(1)-1. Volume I, Government Organization Washington, DC U.S. Government Printing Office
U.S. Bureau of the Census 2002 2002 Census of Governments GC02-1(P). Preliminary Report (Issued July 2002) Washington, DC U.S. Government Printing Office
Weingast Barry 1995 The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development Journal of Law and Economic Organization 11 1 31
Weyand Sabine 1999 Inter-Regional Associations and the European Integration Process Regional and Federal Studies 6 166-82
Wright Deil 1987 A Century of Intergovernmental Administrative State: Wilson's Federalism, New Deal Intergovernmental Relations, and Contemporary Intergovernmental Management A Centennial History of the American Administrative State Ralph C. Chandler London Macmillan 219–60
Wright Deil 2001 Public Administration and Models of Governance: Federalism, Intergovernmental Relations, and Interogovernmental Management in the United States of America Presented at the First International Congress of Political Science and Public Administration Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed