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Designing democratic institutions for collaborative economic development: a European perspective

Skelcher, Chris and De rynck, Filip and Klijn, Erik-Hans and Voets, Joris (2008) Designing democratic institutions for collaborative economic development: a European perspective. In: The Theory and Practice of Local Governance and Economic Development. palgrave, basingstoke, pp. 215-232. ISBN 0230500609

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Collaborative approaches to local economic development have developed in a number of European countries. However collaborative working presents a new problem for policy makers and public management researchers. The problem is to design an institutional framework for the governance of economic development that provides for anchorage in the democratic system without loosing the benefits of flexible policy design and delivery. This is particularly important in a European context. The European Union has recognised the need for citizens to be more engaged in the governance of public policy at all scales - from local neighbourhoods to the transnational level. This chapter addresses the problem by examining the basic questions that any form of democratic governance design needs to address, and relating this to the case of economic development. The core democratic design questions are: How can legitimacy be secured? In what ways can relevant publics give consent to decisions? Through what means can the institution be held to account? The chapter discusses these three democratic imperatives and shows that different responses to these produce three archetypical governance designs - club, agency and polity. We then explore the way in which the problems of democratic governance have been solved empirically through longitudinal case studies of the expansion of Mainport Rotterdam and the management of economic, environmental, residential and transportation agendas in the Ghent canal area of the Flanders region of Belgium. The analysis shows that although different national and regional political contexts matter, the typology of archetypes offers a way of understanding the overall democratic orientation of a particular governance design as well as offering a basis from which policy makers can create their own solutions.

Type of Work:Book Section
Date:2008 (Publication)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:Institute of Local Government Studies

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Keywords:public private partnership; collaboration; governance; dutch; flanders
Subjects:JF Political institutions (General)
JN Political institutions (Europe)
JS Local government Municipal government
Institution:University of Birmingham
Copyright Holders:Palgrave
ID Code:793
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