Reflections on the ‘Devolution Paradox’: A Comparative Examination of Multilevel Citizenship

Ailsa Henderson, Charlie Jeffery, Daniel Wincott, Richard Wyn Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses a paradox in the literature on federal and decentralized states: citizens want their regional governments to do more and yet seem reluctant to embrace the logical consequences of regional control, namely inter-regional policy variation and limited state-wide intervention in policy provision. Based on a survey conducted in fourteen regions across Austria, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, the extent of this devolution paradox is clarified and variables that seem to mitigate or exacerbate its presence, including strength of regional identity, regional institutional authority and regional economic wealth, are identified. The analysis helps one to understand where and how multilevel citizenship operates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-322
JournalRegional Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • citizenship
  • public policy
  • devolution
  • regions
  • federalism


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