Publication details

To be Central or Peripheral? What Matters for Political Representation in Amalgamated Municipalities?

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Year of publication 2017
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description Following current debates on the study of the quality of local government, this paper focuses on representation in local elections. Municipal size and institutional design are important factors influencing political participation of both, voters and politicians at the local level. However, citizens in differently defined settlement units included within a municipality are disadvantaged differently by these factors and thus, de-motivated to participate in politics. Therefore, representation of interests of units within amalgamated municipality can be threatened. Current studies show that immediately after amalgamation, periphery including small former jurisdictions surrounding a big central unit creates over-representation of peripheral area due to the fear of being dominated by the central unit (Kjaer, Jakobsen 2016). However, the perspective on representation of units within amalgamated municipality from the longer time perspective has not been studied yet. Moreover, the studies of representation within municipalities did not used the unique settlement unit as the unit of analysis, but rather aggregation of peripheral units. Thus, the arguments about effects of different relative sizes of units within the municipality on the representation of units were not included in the debate. Our paper focuses on effects of relative size of settlement unit and organizational type (central versus peripheral unit within municipality) on representation in local elections in the Czech Republic. The analysis is based on data from 6,124 Czech municipalities over three sets of elections (2006, 2010, 2014). Amalgamation into greater municipalities started in 1960’ during the Communist regime and in 1990’, a great number of amalgamated municipalities split. Thus, we can look at the representation of units not immediately after the amalgamation, but in long time perspective. The unit of analysis is a settlement unit within a municipality. The paper uses Poisson regression to estimate the effect of size of the settlement unit and different organizational types of settlement unit on the number of representatives in the unit. The results will allow to formulate recommendations for local government reforms not only in the Czech Republic, but also for other amalgamated municipal systems.
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