Even France now values local government. Over the past 30 years, top-down appointment of regional prefects and local administrators has given way to regionally elected councils and a revision of Article 1 of the French Constitution, which proclaims that today the state’s ‘organization is decentralized’.1 The British Parliament, too, has embraced local rule by devolving powers to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. And in China, decentralization has reached a point where some scholars speak of ‘de facto federalism’.2 A systematic study of the distribution of...
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