Sean Mueller explains centralisation and decentralisation across the 26 Swiss cantons using sociocultural, political-ideological, and macro-structural approaches. When decentralisation is first predicted using linear regression models, three significant variables emerge: political culture, area, and the strength of leftwing parties. Then, using process tracing, Mueller studies four cantons over time, to move from identifying correlation to establishing causation. Finally, the author draws causal inferences for (de)centralisation, urging future federal and territorial politics studies to reconceptualise decentralisation into three distinct but related dimensions and to bridge the theoretical gap between socio-cultural, structural and party-political approaches.
'A groundbreaking demonstration of how readily available, reliable data can be used to enrich understandings of the subnational dynamics of governance.'
AJ Brown, Griffith University