In this book Edward Page examines the legal and political basis of relationships between national and local government in seven countries: Britain, France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Spain. His study reveals significantly different approaches to the division of responsibility between central and local government: in some countries local government has responsibility for a wide range of public services, while in others these services are delivered by national and other non-local bodies; the countries respective national governments oversee the operation of local government with varying degrees of stringency; and the degree of influence local politicians exert over their national counterparts is very varied. Dr Page argues that these differences originate in the distinctive patterns of development experienced in southern and northern Europe and goes on to examine implications of his findings for patterns of policy making at the local level.
The author applies a broad theoretical framework to a larger number of nations than is usual among comparative studies of local government and the conclusions he draws should be relevant to a range of countries not included in his detailed analysis.
`This series provides a welcome and much needed boost for a more analytical and theoretically informed treatment of west European politics. Professor Patrick Dunleavy
'Dr Page's interesting paradox that the political importance of local government may be in inverse proportion to its functions conveys a message for councillors in this country.'
Rodney Brooke, MT & AMA News, May 1992
'It is a work of genuine comparison, covering the relationship between central and local government in seven countries. His analysis is careful, rigorous and subtle, and aware of history and the particular circumstances of each country. It is a major work of comparative inquiry, stimulating, illuminating and suggestive of further questions.'
G.W. Jones, Government and Opposition, October, Vol. 27, No. 4, 1992
'The book can be well recommended for its pioneering nature and the information that it brings together.'
Alan Norton, Institute of Local Government Studies, Local Government Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2, Summer '92
'If the old questions about center-local relations come back to haunt Page it is not for lack of an ingenious and provoking effort to simplify the problem. Every student of decentralization should read this book carefully.'
Douglas E. Ashford, University of Pittsburgh, APSR
`one of the more original and coherent efforts to plumb the mysteries of center-local relations in Western Europe ... Remarkably stripped of jargon and unaffected by the many nefarious efforts to quantify center-local relations ... If the old questions about center-local relations come back to haunt Page, it is not for lack of an ingenious and provoking effort to simplify the problem. Every student of decentralization should read this book carefully.'
`Page's book will be of interest to students of politics outside the ranks of local government-experts. Relations between levels of government - local, regional, national and European - are likely to be a research theme of growing importance in Europe, and Page often offers valuable information and thoughtful arguments.'
Constitutional subordination and local influence; the legal scale; the political scale; the consequences of localism and centralism; explaining centralism and localism.