States of convergence in territorial governance

Alistair Mark Cole, Jean Baptiste Harguindéguy, Ian Stafford, Romain Pasquier, Christian De Visscher

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


This article engages questions of policy convergence and divergence in four social-democratic European regions (Andalucía, Brittany, Wales, and Wallonia) in a period of economic crisis and ongoing political decentralization. It develops an analytical framework, the "States of Convergence," as a useful heuristic for understanding the interplay between convergence and divergence pressures, and processes of territorial adaptation and translation. Processes of hard and soft convergence and divergence operate in distinctive ways depending upon whether inputs, outcomes, processes, or institutions are considered. Hard convergence arguments are most convincing in terms of inputs (referring to pressures of international ranking and rating, tougher European Union budgetary rules, enhanced central steering and tighter controls on public expenditure). They are less cogent for understanding outputs, institutions, and processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-321
Number of pages25
JournalPublius: The Journal of Federalism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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