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Decentralization, Interactive Governance and Income Inequality: A Comparative Study

İrepoğlu Carreras, Yasemin (2017) Decentralization, Interactive Governance and Income Inequality: A Comparative Study. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation argues that decentralization leads to higher income inequality, and that interactive governance –the level of ‘shared-rule’ between central government, regional governments and social actors–, is associated with lower income inequality. I use a mixed-methods approach – combining a large-N quantitative analysis with in-depth studies of the cases of Spain, Germany, France and Sweden. In my quantitative study of 17 OECD countries, I find that in countries where subnational units have higher fiscal self-rule (higher fiscal decentralization), there is higher income inequality. Conversely, more shared fiscal rule between the subnational regions and the central government is significantly associated with less income inequality.
This dissertation contributes to the literature on federalism, decentralization, governance and inequality in both theoretical and empirical ways. I disentangle the political, administrative and fiscal aspects of decentralization quantitatively, and I also explore different types of decentralization qualitatively with the elite interviews conducted in the four countries. Overall, the detailed case studies enable me to reflect on how the territorial governance structure impacts inequality both from a static and dynamic perspective. I complement my argument on how decentralization impacts inequality with how the interactions in governance can also add to or detract from decentralization’s effect on inequality. This work allows me to measure interactive governance by disaggregating it into its processes and outputs through looking at its intergovernmental and non-governmental aspects, which brings a new applied method to understanding and measuring governance.
In my case studies, I demonstrate that Spain’s asymmetric fiscal decentralization; its low shared-rule and low interactive governance are significantly associated with its high level of income inequality. France’s symmetrical and centralized fiscal structure and its low decentralization are associated with its currently low inequality levels. Germany is a federal country, but its fiscal policies are strongly coordinated at the central level, which leads to low inequality levels. Sweden, as a unitary and a decentralized country, has high interactive governance and strong state coordination, which makes for a territorial governance structure conducive to lower income inequality.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
İrepoğlu Carreras, Yaseminyaseminpitt@gmail.comyai2
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPeters, B. Guybgpeters@pitt.edubgpeters
Committee MemberLinden, Ronald H.linden@pitt.edulinden
Committee MemberAlexiadou, Despinadalexiad@pitt.edudalexiad
Committee MemberMarkoff, Johnjm2@pitt.edujm2
Date: 26 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 March 2017
Approval Date: 26 June 2017
Submission Date: 13 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 473
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: governance inequality federalism decentralization
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2017 16:47
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 16:47


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