Multilevel Governance and Resource Exchange: Votes, Budgets, Information

Multilevel Governance and Resource Exchange:
Votes, Budgets, Information

Grigoriev I.S.,

National Research University Higher School of Economics. St. Petersburg, Russia,

elibrary_id: 551932 | ORCID: 0000-0002-0058-8583 | RESEARCHER_ID: L-5628-2015

Dekalchuk A.A.,

National Research University Higher School of Economics. St. Petersburg, Russia,

elibrary_id: 551934 | ORCID: 0000-0003-2032-3205 | RESEARCHER_ID: L-7018-2015

Gubaydullina S.Sh.,

National Research University Higher School of Economics. St. Petersburg, Russia,

ORCID: 0000-0003-4675-5401 | RESEARCHER_ID: ABH-2890-2020

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2021.01.12
Rubric: Laboratory

For citation:

Grigoriev I.S., Dekalchuk A.A., Gubaydullina S.Sh. Multilevel Governance and Resource Exchange: Votes, Budgets, Information. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No. 1. P. 169-181. (In Russ.).

The research leading to these results has received funding from the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in 2020.


The paper reviews the most recent findings in multilevel governance and multilevel political systems. Multilevel governance is defined here as how major power resources are distributed (and the pattern of exchange thereof) amongst autonomous centers of power (governments) situated at different levels within the multilevel structure. Following the trend laid down by Tulia Falleti for research in federalism and decentralization, we distinguish between three types of resources: budgets (the monetary resources pertaining to fiscal financial flows), information (mostly provided from the lower levels of government to the upper ones), and legitimacy (mostly the electoral and clientelist support supplied by governments on different levels to each other during elections). The article reveals the general trends within this research stream and outlines existent gaps in our understanding of how particular types of resources are exchanged and distributed between different levels of government in multilevel governance. The first two sections provide a brief overview of the development of empirical research on federalism and multi-tiered systems, and explicate the rationale for studying the distribution of resources between governments at different levels of power. Researching such resource exchange in the short run and the patterns of such exchanges in the long term are two different research agendas. In particular, paying closer attention to the long-term sustainable patterns of resource exchange may serve as an explanation for higher or lower resilience in multilevel governance structures. Modeling such an exchange may therefore serve as grounds for an endogenous theory of multilevel and federal governance. The second part of the paper provides a more detailed review of the most recent research into particular types of resources and their exchange between levels of government. We describe the “natural” asymmetries in such resource distributions between levels. Finally, the conclusion highlights the existent gaps and sets up the agenda for future research. 

multilevel governance, political resources, federalism, resource asymmetries, clientelism, budgetary federalism, information exchange.


Bache I. 2012 Multi-Level Governance in the European Union. – The Oxford Handbook of Governance (ed. by Levi-Faur). New York: Oxford University Press. P. 628-641.

Bednar J. 2008. The Robust Federation: Principles of design. New York: Cambridge University Press. 219 p.

Bednar J. 2011. The Political Science of Federalism. – Annual Review of Law and Social Science. Vol. 7. No. 1. P. 269-288.

Bednar J. 2014. Subsidiarity and Robustness: Building the Adaptive Efficiency of Federal Systems. – Nomos. Vol. 55. P. 231-256.

Bordignon M., Manasse P., Tabellini G. 2001. Optimal Regional Redistribution under Asymmetric Information. – American Economic Review. Vol. 91. No. 3. P. 709-723.

Burgess M. 2006. Comparative Federalism: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. 357 p.

Dardanelli P., Kincaid J., Fenna A., Kaiser A., Lecours A., Kumar Singh A. 2019. Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Theorizing Dynamic De/Centralization in Federations. – Publius. Vol. 49. No. 1. P. 1-29.

Dunleavy P., Hood C. 1994. From Old Public Administration to New Public Management. – Public Money & Management. Vol. 14. No. 3. P. 9-16.

Enikolopov R., Zhuravskaya E. 2007. Decentralization and Political Institutions. – Journal of Public Economics. Vol. 91. No. 11. P. 2261-2290.

Falleti T. G. 2005. A Sequential Theory of Decentralization: Latin American Cases in Comparative Perspective. – American Political Science Review. Vol. 99. No. 3. P. 327-346.

Falleti T. G. 2010. Decentralization and Subnational Politics in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press. 312 p.

Figueiredo R.J.P., Weingast B.R. 2005. Self-Enforcing Federalism. – Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization. Vol. 21. No. 1. P. 103-135.

Filippov M., Ordeshook P. C., Shvetsova O. 2004. Designing Federalism: A Theory of Self-Sustainable Federal Institutions. New York: Cambridge University Press. 398 p.

Fisman R., Gatti R. 2002. Decentralization and Corruption: Evidence Across Countries. – Journal of public Economics. Vol. 83. No. 3. P. 325-345.

Frye T., Reuter O.J., Szakonyi D. 2014. Political Machines at Work: Voter Mobilization and Electoral Subversion in the Workplace. – World Politics. Vol. 66. No. 02. P. 195-228.

Gadenne L. 2017. Tax Me, but Spend Wisely? Sources of Public Finance and Government Accountability. – American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Vol. 9. No. 1. P. 274-314.

Gadenne L., Singhal M. 2014. Decentralization in Developing Economies. – Annual Review of Economics. Vol. 6. No. 1. P. 581-604.

Golosov G. V. 2011. Russia’s Regional Legislative Elections 2003–2007: Authoritarianism Incorporated. – Europe-Asia Studies. Vol. 63. No. 3. P. 397-414.

Golosov G. V. 2013a. Machine Politics: The Concept and Its Implications for Post-Soviet Studies. – Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization. Vol. 21. No. 4. P. 459-480.

Golosov G.V. 2013b. Authoritarian Party Systems: Patterns of Emergence, Sustainability and Survival. – Comparative Sociology. Vol. 12. No. 5. P. 617-644.

Grigoriev I.S., Dekalchuk A.A. 2017. Collective learning and regime dynamics under uncertainty: labour reform and the way to autocracy in Russia. – Democratization. Vol. 24. No. 3. P. 481-497.

Grigoriev I.S., Dekalchuk A.A. 2015. School of Autocracy: Pensions and Labour Reforms of the First Putin Administration. – Higher School of Economics Research Paper. Vol. 24. No. 24/PS/2015. 37 p.

Hix S. 1994. The Study of the European Community: the Challenge to Comparative Politics. – West European Politics. Vol. 17. No. 1. P. 1-30.

Hooghe L., Marks G. 2003. Unraveling the Central State, but How? Types of Multi-Level Governance. – The American Political Science Review. Vol. 97. No. 2. P. 233-243.

Hooghe L., Marks G., Schakel A. 2010. The Rise of Regional Authority: A Comparative Study of 42 Democracies. London: Routledge. 240 p.

Hueglin T. O., Fenna A. 2015. Comparative Federalism: A Systematic Inquiry. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 408 p.

Lane J., Ersson S. 2005. The Riddle of Federalism: Does Federalism Impact on Democracy? – Democratization. Vol. 12. No. 2. P. 163-182.

Lowi T. J. 1964. American Business, Public Policy, Case-Studies, and Political Theory. – World Politics. Vol. 16. No. 04. P. 677-715.

Marks G. 1993. Structural Policy and Multilevel Governance in the EC. – The State of the European Community. Ed. by A.W. Cafruny, G.G. Rosenthal. Harlow: Longman. P. 391-410.

Martinez-Vazquez J., McNab R.M. 2003. Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth. – World Development. Vol. 31. No. 9. P. 1597-1616.

Oates W. E. 1972. Fiscal Federalism. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 256 p.

Oates W. E. 1999. An Essay on Fiscal Federalism. – Journal of Economic Literature. Vol. 37. No. 3. P. 1120-1149.

Oates W. E. 2005. Toward a Second-Generation Theory of Fiscal Federalism. – International Tax and Public Finance. Vol. 12. No. 4. P. 349-373.

Palermo F., Kossler K. 2017. Comparative Federalism: Constitutional Arrangements and Case Law. Oxford, Portland: Hart Publishing. 504 p.

Persson T., Tabellini G. 1996. Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard. – Econometrica. Vol. 64. No. 3. P. 623-646.

Pollack M. A. 2005. Theorizing the European Union: International Organization, Domestic Polity, or Experiment in New Governance? – Annual Review of Political Science. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 357-398.

Ponce-Rodriguez R.A., Hankla C., Martinez-Vazquez J., Heredia-Ortiz E. 2018. Rethinking the Political Economy of Decentralization: How Elections and Parties Shape the Provision of Local Public Goods. – Publius. Vol. 48. No. 4. P. 523-558.

Riker W.H. 1964. Federalism: Origin, Operation, Significance. Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company. 169 p.

Rode M., Pitlik H., Borrella Mas M.A. 2018. Does Fiscal Federalism Deter or Spur Secessionist Movements? Empirical Evidence from Europe. – Publius. Vol. 48. No. 2. P. 161-190.

Schakel A.H., Hooghe L., Marks G. 2015. Multilevel Governance and the State. – The Oxford handbook of transformations of the state. Ed. by S. Leibfried, E. Huber, M. Lange, J. Levy, F. Nullmeier, J. Stephens. Oxford: Oxford University Press. P. 269-285.

Scott J.C. 1969. Corruption, Machine Politics, and Political Change. – The American Political Science Review. Vol. 63. No. 4. P. 1142-1158.

Sharafutdinova G., Turovsky R. 2017. The Politics of Federal Transfers in Putin’s Russia: Regional Competition, Lobbying, and Federal Priorities. – Post-Soviet Affairs. Vol. 33. No. 2. P. 161-175.

Simison E., Ziblatt D. 2018. The Power and Limits of Federalism. – A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics. Ed. by C. Menard, M.M. Shirley. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. P. 27-33.

Stokes S.C., Dunning T., Nazareno M., Brusco V. 2013. Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press. 344 p.

Thatcher M., Sweet A.S. 2002. Theory and Practice of Delegation to Non-Majoritarian Institutions. – West European Politics. Vol. 25. No. 1. P. 1-22.

Treisman D. 2007. The Architecture of Government: Rethinking Political Decentralization. New York: Cambridge University Press. 327 p.

Tsebelis G. 1990. Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 300 p.

Watts R. L. 1998. Federalism, Federal Political Systems, and Federations. – Annual Review of Political Science. Vol. 1. No. 1. P. 117-137.

Williams M.J. 2017. The Political Economy of Unfinished Development Projects: Corruption, Clientelism, or Collective Choice? – American Political Science Review. Vol. 111. No. 4. P. 705-723.

Xu C. 2011. The Fundamental Institutions of China’s Reforms and Development. – Journal of Economic Literature. Vol. 49. No. 4. P. 1076-1151.


Busygina I.M., Filippov M.G. 2020. Changing Incentives and Strategies of National Governments in Multilevel Governance across the European Union. – Polis. Political Studies. No. 5. P. 148-163. (In Russ.).

Dekalchuk A.A., Hohlova A.A. 2015. When N = 1: The Problem of The European Union “Uniqueness” in a Modern Comparative Studies. – Political Science (RU). No. 4. P. 116-134.

Gilev A., Shevtsova I. 2019. Foundation of “Vertical”: Elections and Distribution of Inter-Governmental Transfers at Local Level cases of Novgorod Oblast and Perm Krai. – Politeia. No. 2. P. 151-167.

Starodubtsev A. 2014. Platit’ nel’zya proigryvat’. Regional’naya politika i federalizm v sovremennoy Rossii [Federalism and Regional Policy in Contemporary Russia]. St. Peterburg: European University at St. Petersburg. 196 p. 

Content No. 1, 2021

See also:

Zakharov A.A.,
”Executive Federalism” in Contemporary Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2001. No4

Martyanov V.S.,
Federalism: political structure or a pact between elites?. – Polis. Political Studies. 2010. No1

Busygina I.M.,
German Federalism: History, Present Condition, Potential of Reforming. – Polis. Political Studies. 2000. No5

Galkin A.A., Fedosov P.A., Valentey S.D., Solovey V.D.,
Federalism and the Public Sphere in Russia. – Polis. Political Studies. 2001. No4

Kaspe S.I.,
Empire Substitute: On the Nature and Origin of the Federative Political Form. – Polis. Political Studies. 2005. No4



   2024      2023      2022      2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991