The impact of local government organization on development and disparities-a comparative perspective

Eran Razin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Results of the comparative study presented in this paper suggests that local government organization influences land-use planning, and local development strategies and disparities. Local government reforms can, therefore, serve to modify spatial patterns of development and disparities. Based on a review of studies made in the developed and the developing world, the author provides a comparative perspective on these influences. Five major dimensions of local government organization-territorial, functional, political autonomy, fiscal, and electoral-are used to define four extreme models of local government. The American self-government model leads to substantial inequalities and to considerable sprawl. The Western welfare-state model alleviates these problems somewhat, but at a cost to central government. Its positive impact is also dependent on norms of administration at the central level, whereas reduced competition over economic development has its negative sides. Developing-world-type centralism has no real advantages in terms of development or disparities. The developing-world decentralized model can be regarded as a transitional phase towards either the self-government or the welfare-state models. Its implementation has been partial; hence its impact has, so far, been rather small.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


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