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Decentralization: An Institutional Strategy of Appeasement
Unformatted Document Text:  37 This paper has challenged the institution-as-means perspective of the decentralization and devolution literature. It has shown that, in countries where ethnoterritorial parties compete, a mainstream party’s devolution policy may not be intended simply as a reform to state institutions. Instead, just as threatened mainstream parties compete with green parties by adopting environmental platforms, threatened mainstream parties will advocate decentralization schemes to appease and alter the voting behavior of ethnoterritorial or regionalist party supporters. Recognition of the programmatic dimension of decentralization strategies allows us to understand why parties create opportunities in which they anticipate losing votes. It may not be that these actors have misunderstood their own interests or poorly assessed the costs of their actions; as this analysis reveals, it may just be that the parties have different objectives and motivations altogether.

Authors: Meguid, Bonnie.
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37
This paper has challenged the institution-as-means perspective of the decentralization and
devolution literature. It has shown that, in countries where ethnoterritorial parties compete, a
mainstream party’s devolution policy may not be intended simply as a reform to state
institutions. Instead, just as threatened mainstream parties compete with green parties by
adopting environmental platforms, threatened mainstream parties will advocate decentralization
schemes to appease and alter the voting behavior of ethnoterritorial or regionalist party
supporters. Recognition of the programmatic dimension of decentralization strategies allows us
to understand why parties create opportunities in which they anticipate losing votes. It may not
be that these actors have misunderstood their own interests or poorly assessed the costs of their
actions; as this analysis reveals, it may just be that the parties have different objectives and
motivations altogether.


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