State and Society in Local Governance: Lessons from a Multilevel Comparison


A generation of literature on local governance has established it to be largely a matter of relations between society and the local state. Existing typologies of national infrastructures for local governance, however, have neglected national variations in the shape of civil society to focus exclusively on governmental institutions. In this article we propose a new typology of national infrastructures of local governance that takes the structure of civil society into account. We test the typology as a predictor of local patterns of influence in a multilevel comparative analysis of data from the UDITE survey of over 4,000 local officials in fourteen OECD countries. The analysis demonstrates that certain types of national infrastructures consistently affect local power relations, as do the parallel infrastructures common to distinct sectors of policy. The effects from these infrastructures generally depend on synergies with the influence of local actors in civil society as well as in the local state.