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Title: Political economy of local and participatory governance
Author: Hunt, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0003 5800 8032
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2010
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Chapter 2 compares government consultation via an opinion poll and a citizens' jury". In a jury, about fiffteen volunteers spend several days learning about a policy choice before voting. If the public is ill-informed, the government trades-off "information" against participation". Jurors have better information than poll respondents, but constitute a smaller sample. More- over, participation costs may bias the jury sample. Indeed, the literature suggests that costs might induce "neutrality": over-representation of the minority to the extent that the result is uninformative. I show that although the minority will often be over-represented, "neutrality" is a knife-edge result here so juries may be worthwhile. Extensions consider compensating jurors and excluding "special interests". Chapter 3 uses evidence from the allocation of regeneration funding to motivate a model in which central government may ask councils to compile apparently pointless dossiers to ap- ply for money, because the dossiers provide information about councils' competence. I then consider when the government might prefer a simpler but less flexible auction-type process. The UK government's ability to "ring-fence" money, obliging councils to spend it on its priority, is central to chapter 3. Chapter 4 develops the analysis of auctions in this context. With variations in competence, ring-fencing effectively imposes type-specific minimum bids. I characterise equilibrium bidding and show that the ring-fencing constraint may not only increase bids, but actually induce councils to contribute resources. Continuing the themes of participation and competence in the policy process, chapter 5 examines parish councils' use of a general spending power. I find parishes with more well-educated and older citizens (groups with generally higher political participation) are more likely to use their powers. Further investigation suggests that these citizens matter because they are involved in governance, rather than because they exert democratic pressure. This has impli- cations for wider neighbourhood governance policy.
Supervisor: Leaver, Clare ; Myatt, David Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economics ; Microeconomics ; Political science ; local government ; auctions ; participation