A new framework for understanding subnational policy-making and local choice

Peter Eckersley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a new and innovative framework to help analyse policy-making and depoliticisation within subnational governance arrangements. By focusing on the capacity (not the autonomy) of subnational governments to achieve their political objectives, and incorporating external actors along both the vertical and horizontal dimensions, it provides a dynamic tool to understand the extent to which municipal governments influence local policy-making processes. Furthermore, it stresses that greater ‘localism’ (or independence) between vertical tiers of government is likely to weaken subnational bodies and result in them becoming more interdependent with (or even dependent on) horizontal non-state actors within the locality. This would weaken their position in local governance arrangements and exacerbate the depoliticised nature of decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-90
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number1
Early online date23 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2016 The Author(s).


  • depoliticisation
  • intergovernmental relations
  • localism
  • multi-level governance
  • organisational capacity
  • policy analysis
  • policy-making
  • power dependency
  • Subnational government

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