Multi-level Governance Reforms

Overview of OECD Country Experiences

image of Multi-level Governance Reforms

This report provides an overview of “multi-level governance” reforms in OECD countries. It looks at institutional reforms, which reorganise powers, responsibilities and resources across levels of government, as well as territorial reforms, which address territorial structures, often modifying regional and local government administrative areas. The report describes the rationale for different reforms, their characteristics and outcomes, as well as the obstacles faced by governments in designing and implementing them. The success - and failure - of past reforms provide useful lessons that can be applied to future reform efforts. The report includes five case studies that take an in-depth look at countries that have undertaken considerable multi-level governance reforms: Finland, France, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.



Political economy of multi-level governance reforms: Insights for policy

This overview of past and recent multi-level governance reforms in OECD countries, with a special focus on Finland, France, Italy, Japan, and New Zealand, confirms that public administration reforms are sensitive and difficult to conduct. Policy makers face a variety of challenges, highlighted in the OECD “Making Reform Happen: lessons from OECD countries” framework (OECD 2010a). Firstly, governance reform processes are highly context-dependent and are framed by structural constraints including countries’ specific features (geography, population, economy, historical and cultural context, constitutional arrangements and organisational patterns) and political conjuncture. Secondly, multi-level governance reforms confront policy makers with the problem of “reforming the reformer” since the public administration must indeed design and implement its own reform, often imposing measures which may be contested both at central and local levels.


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