Giving Citizens More Say in Local Government: Comparative Analyses of Change Across Europe in Times of Crisis

  • Angelika Vetter
  • Daniel Klimovský
  • Bas Denters
  • Norbert Kersting
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


The authors show how institutions for citizen participation in European local government have changed from 1990 until today. Relying on data from an expert survey and focusing on the right of free access to information, the direct election of mayors, and binding local referenda, the authors discover a clear trend of democratic renewal in European local politics. However, the trend is not uniform. The authors also offer some interpretations for the pattern of change they found: Democratic reforms are the result of domestic political factors. But as diffusion theory suggests, the reforms are also externally determined by factors like coercion, learning, and imitation.


Citizen Participation Local Council Expert Survey Direct Election Democratic Reform 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank our colleagues from the COST project as well as other research colleagues who supported us by completing our questionnaire: Harald Baldersheim (Norway), Anders Lidström (Sweden); Ulrik Kjær (Denmark); Eva Marín Hlynsdóttir (Iceland); Siv Sandberg (Finland); Colin Copus (UK); Andreas Ladner (Switzerland); Anna Gamper (Austria); Joan Font and Angel Iglesias (Spain); Paolo Fedele (Italy); Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot (France); Kristof Steyvers (Belgium); Nikos Hlepas (Greece); Carlos Nunes Silva (Portugal); Inga Vilka (Latvia); Egidius Barcevicius and Oksana Mejere (Lithuania); Ringa Raudla (Estonia); Paweł Swianiewicz and Adam Gendzwill (Poland); Michal Illner (Czech Republic); Miro Hacek (Slovenia); Gabor Soos (Hungary); Dubravka J. Alibegovic (Croatia); Desislava Stoilova (Bulgaria); Calin Hintea (Romania); Gerard Turley and John McEldowney (Ireland). Because of their small size we excluded Luxembourg, Malta and Cyprus from this study.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelika Vetter
    • 1
  • Daniel Klimovský
    • 2
  • Bas Denters
    • 3
  • Norbert Kersting
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesUniversity of StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Comenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  3. 3.University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands
  4. 4.University of MünsterMünsterGermany

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