Decentralised public administration: A comparative analysis of continuities and variations in the governments of Andalusia and Catalonia (1977-2015)

Dixon, Jill (2016) Decentralised public administration: A comparative analysis of continuities and variations in the governments of Andalusia and Catalonia (1977-2015). Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This study brings new empirical research on sub-state government in contemporary Spain, addressing a gap in the literature concerning the approaches taken and choices made by Autonomous Governments regarding their institutional design. It tests the hypothesis that decentralisation to territories with distinct and different characteristics will result in diversity in public administrative institutions.

A multi-method investigation compares the responses of the Junta de Andalucía and the Generalitat de Catalunya to the opportunities of decentralisation and the challenges of the post-2008 economic crisis. It analyses budgets, ministerial and civil servant hierarchies, policies and strategies. It also evaluates the perspectives and statements of key politicians, senior civil servants, academics and trades unionists, obtained through one-to-one interviews carried out in Spain during 2014 and 2015.

The research finds that despite recognisable differences in the characteristics of Andalusia and Catalonia, and constitutional recognition of Spain’s nations and nationalities, decentralisation has not resulted in significant divergence between these two Autonomous Governments. Priorities, structures, employment practices and administrative cultures demonstrate more continuities than variation. The constitutional and institutional framework and Spain’s political culture have been shown to reduce the scope for differentiation. This case study highlights the Napoleonic administrative tradition as the most significant influence for homogeneity. Self-identity, strong but distinct in each community, has contributed to a divergence in style and emphasis in the Junta and the Generalitat, and also to dissimilarities in their responses to the economic crisis.

This research adds to public administration studies evidence that decentralisation does not necessarily result in variation in governmental institutions at sub-state level. The study concludes that the historical legacy of centralism and in particular the continued influence of the administrative tradition have acted as forces for continuity in the Autonomous Governments of Andalusia and Catalonia.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L200 Politics
L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2018 11:10
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:37

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