Hooghe et al.: the Regional Authority Index

Hooghe et al. undertook the task of building “a reasonably valid measure of subnational government structure that is sensitive to cross-sectional and temporal variation”.[1] A first version appeared in 2010, the latest updated version was published in 2016. The authors were not interested in concepts of federalism, but in measuring the authority of subnational governments in any form of state: the capacity to make legitimate and binding decisions for a community. However, they borrowed the ‘self-rule - shared rule’ dichotomy from the federalism literature.

Based on this structure, Hooghe et al. have developed the Regional Authority Index (RAI). This is to measure the authority of regional governments, conceived as the combination of self-rule and shared rule.

Indicators to measure self-rule are: (1) institutional depth (how independent is a regional government from central state control?); (2) policy scope, i.e. the breadth of regional self-rule over policing, its own institutional set-up and local governments, whether it has residual powers, and competences over economic policy, cultural-educational policy, welfare policy, immigration, or citizenship;

(3) fiscal autonomy; (4) borrowing autonomy; and (5) representation, covering both the election of the legislature and the appointment of the executive.

Indicators to measure shared rule are: (1) law-making in the second legislative chamber (representation and scope); (2) executive control, indicated by ‘routine meetings with the central government’, with advisory or veto power; (3) fiscal control; (4) borrowing control; and (5) involvement in constitutional reform.

Several of these indicators are useful for our purpose, especially since they are situated in the three categories of status, powers, and fiscal arrangements.

Their dimensions of ‘self-rule’ and ‘shared rule’ match with the terminology of federal theory. In this book, they can be considered subdimensions of subnational autonomy. Also, like the approach taken in this book, the regional level is selected as the unit of analysis. Moreover, the index is only interested in formal rules, to the exclusion of informal arrangements. Finally, the authors provide a detailed scoring mechanism that can be used as a model.

Regrettably, the RAI only measures regional authority and does not examine cohesive instruments for maintaining state integrity. The role of courts is also neglected, and representation at the parliamentary level is only concerned with second chambers. Further, the authors have taken a minimalist approach, distilling their indicators to the essential features.[2] For this book, however, I am not merely interested in the ranking of countries. Instead, I want to develop a theory of federalism, which means that I need to tackle all aspects that affect federalism in any given MTS. In this first phase, I concentrate on the institutional aspects. In later phases, noninstitutional dynamics should be included.

  • [1] Liesbeth Hooghe, Gary Marks, Arjan H Schakel, Sara Niedzwiecki, Sandra Chapman Osterkatz and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield, (further Hooghe et al.) Measuring Regional Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance. Volume 1 (Oxford University Press 2016), 4.' 2 Liesbeth Hooghe, Gary Marks and Arjan H Schakel, The rise of regional authority: a comparative study of 42 countries (Routledge 2010). 3 Hooghe et al. (n 98). See also the project’s website, with a ranking of countries: http:// garymarks.web.unc.edu/data/regional-authority/. For an appreciation of the RAI, see Mueller (n 27) 169-172. 4 Hooghe et al. (n 98) 16. 5 Ibid)?,. 6 Ibid 25. 7 Ibid 26.
  • [2] 2 Maksym Ivanyna and Anwar Shah, How Close is Tour Government to Its People? Worldwide Indicators on Localization and Decentralization, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 6138, 2012. 3 Ibid 4. 4 Ibid 23. 5 Ibid 10.
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