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2010 - Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies Pages: unavailable || Words: 9358 words || 
1. Leon, Sandra. "Leaking Accountability on the Way to Federalism? Clarity of Responsibilities in Decentralized Contexts: The Case of Spain" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, Apr 15, 2010 Online <PDF>. 2019-08-17 <>
Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: A vast array of empirical analysis on the consequences of decentralization warns us against some of the optimistic assumptions that have fuelled the devolution of responsibilities to local and regional authorities around the world. A critical view in the literature on decentralization states that the fragmentation of power blurs responsibility attribution and, in consequence, weakens citizensÂ’ capacity to hold incumbentsÂ’ accountable. From this perspective decentralization may hamper democratic accountability, as individuals are unable to establishing a causal link between outcomes and politiciansÂ’ past actions.This argument stands opposed to the literature on welfare economics, which has traditionally emphasized that decentralization of authority enhances the control of politicians by shifting policy more closely into line with citizen preferences. This theoretical disagreement can only be solved by refining our understanding of specific institutional designs of decentralization. More specifically, my theoretical claim is that the relation between multilevel governance and responsibility attribution is contingent upon the type of decentralization in place and the span of time during which citizens experience a particular distribution of powers. Hypotheses will be tested on the Spanish case. Spain represents an excellent case to study the impact of ongoing decentralization on responsibility judgments because it is one of the countries where decentralization has travelled further and faster during the last decade.

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