Congruence or Compensation? How Support for Subnational Democracy is Linked to Support for Metropolitan Integration

Michael A Strebel
2016
Modern democracies face two major challenges to their legitimacy: i.) the spread of public disaffection with politics and ii.) the transfer of governance functions away from nation-state institutions. In this paper I aim to link these two challenges by taking on an attitudinal perspective. Analyzing metropolitan areas, subnational multi-level governance contexts, I assess how public discontent is linked to citizens' support for the political integration of metropolitan areas. Public opinion
more » ... Public opinion scholar investigating European integration have proposed a negative -compensation -and a positive -congruencerelation between public discontent and support for integration. Drawing on data from a recent citizen survey in eightWestern European metropolitan areas, I test these two propositions for the metropolitan context. The findings support the congruence proposition: Citizens that are dissatisfied and distrusting of subnational democracy are also less supportive of metropolitan integration. Citizens do certainly not view transferring governance functions to other levels as a remedy for some of nation-state's deficiencieswhether such reforms are the cause of their discontent or act as an enhancer is a question to be answered by future research. Abstract Modern democracies face two major challenges to their legitimacy: i.) the spread of public disaffection with politics and ii.) the transfer of governance functions away from nation-state institutions. In this paper I aim to link these two challenges by taking on an attitudinal perspective. Analyzing metropolitan areas, subnational multi-level governance contexts, I assess how public discontent is linked to citizens' support for the political integration of metropolitan areas. Public opinion scholar investigating European integration have proposed a negative -compensation -and a positive -congruence -relation between public discontent and support for integration. Drawing on data from a recent citizen survey in eight Western European metropolitan areas, I test these two propositions for the metropolitan context. The findings support the congruence proposition: Citizens that are dissatisfied and distrusting of subnational democracy are also less supportive of metropolitan integration. Citizens do certainly not view transferring governance functions to other levels as a remedy for some of nation-state's deficiencies -whether such reforms are the cause of their discontent or act as an enhancer is a question to be answered by future research. Word Count: 9439
doi:10.5167/uzh-127129 fatcat:xid6y42a2nffpo6ln6dfoosndq