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Title: Dilemmas of regional governance : sub-national territorial politics and river basin management in the USA, France, China, and India
Author: Moore, Scott Michael
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This dissertation identifies and explores the dilemma of regional governance, namely how to address political and economic challenges which occur at the meso-, as opposed to local, national, or international scale. Drawing on a large body of theoretical work on decentralization and federalism, this dissertation addresses the question, how do different institutional arrangements for political, fiscal, and administrative decentralization influence the capacity of political systems to capture regional-scale externalities? It does so by examining the responses of four different political systems, two federal and two unitary, to the problem of capturing economic externalities through River Basin Management (RBM), a quintessential regional issue. RBM outcomes are operationalized in terms of efficacy of capture of both water quality and quantity externalities which occur within inter-jurisdictional river basins. Through close historical analysis of six paired case studies across the four country cases, the dissertation argues that the capacity of political systems to capture regional-scale externalities depends on the ability of sub-national jurisdictions to pursue localized preferences, which is in this dissertation referred to as sub-national territorial politics. These politics are most prevalent in federal systems, which typically accord sub-national territorial jurisdictions with greater political power and fiscal resources. These political systems feature fewer and weaker regional governance institutions, and generally less effective regional-scale externality capture, than their counterparts. This dissertation contributes to a growing "sub-national turn" in comparative politics in two ways. First, it identifies the geographically-rooted interests which often shape sub-national actor preferences, particularly with respect to natural resource issues. Second, the dissertation discerns the lack of political incentives for central governments to resolve disputes between sub-national administrative jurisdictions, particularly in the federal systems in which these units are the basis for political representation at the national level.
Supervisor: Bermeo, Nancy Sponsor: Rhodes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science ; Environmental change ; river basin management ; water resource management ; water resource politics ; water resource conflict ; sub-national politics