Policy Change and Innovation in Multilevel Governance


Policy Change and Innovation in Multilevel Governance

9781788119160 Edward Elgar Publishing
Arthur Benz, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Politics and German Government, Institute for Political Science, Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany
Publication Date: 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78811 916 0 Extent: 200 pp
This is an open access title available under the terms of a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License. It is free to read, download and share on Elgaronline.com.

Multilevel governance divides powers, includes many veto players and requires extensive policy coordination among different jurisdictions. Under these conditions, innovative policies or institutional reforms seem difficult to achieve. However, while multilevel systems establish obstructive barriers to change, they also provide spaces for creative and experimental policies, incentives for learning, and ways to circumvent resistance against change. As the book explains, appropriate patterns of multilevel governance linking diverse policy arenas to a loosely coupled structure are conducive to policy innovation.

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Based on theoretical and empirical research, this authoritative book explains why, how and under which conditions innovative policies are achievable in multilevel governance. Taking a forward-thinking approach, the book also addresses implications of the rise of multilevel governance for research and practice.
Arthur Benz explores multilevel governance both in relation to and beyond governments’ responses to an increasing complexity of public policies. Chapters analyse how political authority is divided and policies have to be coordinated across jurisdictional boundaries. Utilizing case studies on energy and climate policy in transnational, national and local contexts, and on fiscal equalization in federations, Benz illuminates the interplay of policy change and institutional change, as well as the particular conditions that enable or constrain these mechanisms. The book concludes that complexity in multilevel systems of governance does not rule out policy innovation, but rather it establishes both favourable and constraining conditions for significant change.  
Providing an overview of theories of multilevel governance, this book will be critical reading for scholars and advanced students of political science and public administration. It will also be beneficial for policymakers interested in complex governance.
Critical Acclaim
‘This book builds on a decades-long study of policymaking and multilevel governance. It engages with fundamental issues of institutional change and policy innovation that we know far too little about. Arthur Benz gathers an impressive range of evidence and thinking that allow us to better tackle these thorny issues.’
– Gary Marks, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, US and European University Institute, Italy

‘Summarizing a decade of research on multilevel governance, this book is an essential guide for political scientists, politicians and public administrators. I warmly recommend it, in particular, to those interested in theories of policy change or institutional change, and those focusing on linkages between multiple arenas, such as my fellow experts in European integration. Let''s all keep in mind Arthur Benz’s reminder that “complexity of governance should be regarded not only as a necessary evil but also a precondition to solve complex policy problems in a democratic way”.’
– Gerda Falkner, University of Vienna, Austria

‘Arthur Benz is an eminence in the study of multilevel governance. This book draws together different strands of his work and provides an encompassing analysis of multilevel governance in federal, European and international contexts. If you want to know why it can deliver, this is the book to read.’
– Michael Zürn, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction to Policy Change and Innovation in Multilevel Governance 2. Deadlocks or dynamics? The state of research on
multilevel governance 3. Mechanisms, conditions and outcomes: theories of policy change 4. Continuity and change in multilevel governance 5. Transformation of a policy regime: energy and climate policy 6. Changing a redistributive policy: renewal of fiscal equalization 7. Conditions and processes of policy innovation in multilevel governance 8. Conclusion to Policy Change and Innovation in Multilevel Governance References Index
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