By Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Marco di Cataldo and Alessandro Rainoldi, 2014


Research and innovation strategies for smart specialisation (RIS3) are trying to introduce a new vision of innovation policy in European regions. However, the success of RIS3 policy measures is closely dependent on the capacity of regional government institutions to act as coordinators or facilitators of the interventions. The way in which institutional mechanisms govern innovation processes and provide incentives for the interaction between regional actors remains a largely unexplored area of scientific research.
This policy note discusses the importance of sound institutional frameworks for the effectiveness of smart specialisation, presenting an econometric study that investigates the link between government institutions and innovation. The empirical results confirm the key role played by governance structures for technological advances at the regional level, suggesting that the greatest gains in innovative capacity from institutional reforms would be obtained in peripheral territories where the initial level of government quality is lower. This analysis has important implications for the identification of the necessary pre-requisites for successful RIS3 strategies in EU regions.

By Dorothée Allain-Dupré, 2018


The past decades have seen an undeniable trend towards decentralisation and greater diversity of multilevel governance arrangements around the world. Decentralisation outcomes depend on the way decentralisation is designed and implemented. A key issue for the effectiveness of decentralisation is linked to the way responsibilities are assigned across levels of government. The literature on fiscal federalism has provided some general guidelines that provide a point of departure for thinking about the assignment of responsibilities. However, when looking at country practices, the difference between theory and country experience appears to be significant. This paper reviews the trends, challenges and good practices in the way responsibilities are distributed across levels of government. It concludes with a set of guidelines for policy-makers, to better assign responsibilities across levels of government for more effective decentralisation.

By Rodríguez-Pose, A. and Sandall, R., 2008


Few global phenomena have been as pervasive over the lifetime of Government and Policy as the drive towards decentralisation. The number of countries transferring authority and resources to subnational tiers of government has multiplied over the last twenty-five years. Yet the motives behind this trend remain relatively unknown.We explore these motives by analysing changes in the decentralisation discourse across a number of countries. We find that, while arguments about democracy and good governance have been at the heart of the reasoning for decentralisation, identity has progressively been relegated in favour of the economy and the promise of an economic dividend as the other main motivating factor. However, this shift from identity to the economy is highly contingent on who is driving the process. Despite noticeable shifts towards economic arguments in the discourse of nationalist and secessionist movements, identity remains strong in bottom-up discourses. In contrast, it has almost disappearedöif it ever existedöwhen the process of decentralisation is undertaken by the state or is encouraged by international organisations.

By Rodríguez-Pose, A. and Gill, N., 2004


In this paper we present an examination of the possible correlation between rising income inequalities at the regional level and widespread devolutionary initiatives worldwide. When the responsibility and resource-based facets of decentralisation are taken together a marked congruency is evident between the two trends. Various spatial economic forces promote the emergence of core and peripheral regions, and devolution, by establishing the autonomy of these regions, allows these forces a greater impact. We argue that this is because decentralisation initiatives carry with them implicit fiscal, political, and administrative costs, which fall more heavily upon those regions with limited adjustment capacities, resulting in differential rates at which regions can capitalise upon the opportunities offered by devolution. The global tendency towards devolution therefore reflects a subtle, but profound, renunciation of the traditional equalisation role of national government in favour of conditions fostering economic and public competition and leading to greater development of initially rich and powerful regions to the detriment of poorer areas.