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This paper explores multilevel governance (MLG) in the context of state aid programmes for the diffusion of broadband in the European Union. By comparing three EU Member States (Italy, Spain and the UK), the qualitative analysis illustrates how MLG affects both the implementation of public interventions and the reduction of regional inequalities in the access to broadband. The analysis suggests that a distributed and shared governance is potentially beneficial for the implementation of state aid programmes, but its application is constrained by idiosyncrasies in the structure of the public and private sector.
Smart farming, e-health and e-commerce are just some of the multiple opportunities that digitisation offers to rural communities and businesses. Their ability though to participate in the digital economy is often compromised by a lack of high-speed connectivity. Despite the numerous initiatives launched over the years to promote broadband diffusion, such as BTOP in the US and BDUK in the UK, a large proportion of the rural population in the United States and the European Union (EU) are still unable to connect to fiber and 4G networks. As new measures in support of rural broadband have recently been announced by the US government and the EU, further research is needed to understand what business models and public policies are most likely to close the digital divide in rural areas. The evaluation of past initiatives can provide useful insights to enhance the effectiveness of future interventions. Drawing on research presented by Shaffer and Strover et al. at TPRC 2017, this paper further explores how community-led and public initiatives can contribute to promoting the adoption of broadband. Our analysis focuses on two projects deploying fixed broadband networks in the rural United Kingdom: Broadband for the Rural North (B4RN) and Connecting Cumbria. The former is a cooperative fiber-to-the-home network financed and built by local residents in the Northwest of England, while the latter is a public-private partnership between British Telecom and Cumbria County Council, providing fiber broadband in areas excluded from commercial deployments. These case studies exemplify how the combination of top-down and bottom-up initiatives enabled the UK to expand the coverage of superfast broadband (defined in the UK as being a download speed of at least 30 Mbit/s) from 22% to 66% of the rural premises between 2014 and 2017. Based on participant observation and interviews with multiple stakeholders, this paper explores the business models adopted by these initiatives and compares their outcomes in terms of broadband coverage and adoption. Despite achieving its coverage goals, Connecting Cumbria did not fully meet the expectations of rural communities, still unsatisfied with the speed available or even unable to access fast broadband. Some villages decided to join B4RN and subsequently leveraged their own skills and financial resources to build a community FTTH network covering every premise. In both cases, the management of expectations and the engagement with broadband users emerged as key success factors. These case studies offer unique insights into the performance of community-led initiatives and public-private partnerships, thereby contributing to the ongoing research and policy debate on the role of local communities and public authorities in broadband markets. By analysing the interplay between public sector, private suppliers and local communities, this research also provides useful recommendations for policymakers and practitioners dealing with the rollout of rural broadband. Furthermore, it contributes to the ongoing research on the adoption of innovation in peripheral areas, by exploring how digital skills develop and disseminate in rural communities.
This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of multilevel governance processes. We do so by focusing on the in-depth examination of the institutional changes recently implemented in the Quebec health care delivery system that require a close collaboration between interdependent actors acting at various levels of governance. Our three research questions are: (1) How does multi-level governance emerge in a pluralist institutuional context? (2) How do multi-level governance processes shape the adaptive capacity of the organization to its environment? (3) How does institutional context influence these multi-governance processes?Our empirical investigation is inspired by the theory of complexity which invites us to pay attention to three processes: self-organization, eco-self organization and co-evolution. This study shows that the effectiveness of multi-level governance processes do not only go through the implementation of instruments aiming at aligning the action of lower government levels with the objectives of the upper levels as suggested by numerous existing works. More precisely, it suggests that more distributed and coordinated processes favor a more homogenous form of adaptation (Miller and Page, 2007) taking into account the interdependence between stakeholders.
The current European climate and the revitalised Lisbon strategy have put social cohesion at the heart of the European policy agenda. Active Citizenship is an essential element of the strategy, putting the spotlight on values, representative democracy and civil society. The question is how a concept such as active citizenship can be measured. This report presents the definition and framework for developing composite indicators of active citizenship, the process of building a composite indicator and the results obtained from the indicators in terms of European cross-country comparisons. The framework and indicators used in this report are based on recommendations emerging from the research project on “Active Citizenship for Democracy” coordinated by the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning (CRELL) of the European Commission. CRELL was created in collaboration between the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education and Culture and the Directorate General Joint Research Centre in order to support the monitoring of the Lisbon process in the field of education. The project on active citizenship has been developed in cooperation with the Council of Europe’s Directorate of Education and is supported by a research network, “Active Citizenship for Democracy,” which is comprised of key experts from across Europe from the fields of social and political science and education.
Decentralisation was one of the most relevant trends in the institutional development of the Spanish and Italian welfare states up to the onset of the economic crisis. The present article tries to answer two questions. How have central government – subnational government relationships and models of welfare governance evolved? What has happened to territorial inequalities in access to welfare state provision before and after the onset of the crisis and the introduction of austerity policies?.
Before the crisis, territorial differences in the operation of the welfare state across regions were more pronounced and intense in Italy than in Spain. With the onset of the crisis and austerity, the differences between territorial clusters in Spain have remained relatively stable or have decreased, whereas in Italy they have often increased. In both cases, regional governments have, in recent years, been more dependent on central government. In fact, to receive support or extra funding, regional governments have accepted the conditions imposed by central government. Sub-national governments have been forced to accept significant cuts and greater control or supervision of their budgets. As the largest part of the regional budget is spent on social policies, regional welfare systems have inevitably been affected both in scope and in the way in which decisions are made.
The purpose of this article is to assess the influences exerted by European Union Cohesion Policy to the patterns of governance of the sub-national actors in Greece and the role played by the latest wave of territorial reforms and the austerity measures that were introduced following the fiscal crisis of 2010 in these processes. It does that through the deployment of the theoretical frameworks of Multi-level Governance and the application of the principle of partnership. The principle of partnership has been an integral aspect of the regulatory framework governing the Cohesion Policy and has remained so after all the reforms of the Structural Funds. The aims of the partnership principle are mediated through domestic policy practices which, in the case of Greece, have been highly centralised. An assessment regarding the changes of governance towards greater sub-national involvement about the current programming period (2008–2013) indicates that there has hardly been any turn towards Multi-level Governance whilst the principle of partnership was only applied in a superficial way. These issues are pertinent in light of the ‘Kalikratis’ plan, which was introduced in 2010 in order to modernise the sub-national authorities, as well as the austerity measures that followed the fiscal crisis which has engulfed Greece since 2010. The interplay between the domestic territorial reforms introduced by ‘Kalikratis’, the austerity measures and the superficial patterns of internalisation of the principle of partnership has led to the rescaling of governance and to less spending, further undermining the already diminished capacities for participation by the sub-national authorities.
Managing European Union Structural Funds: using a multilevel governance framework to examine the application of the partnership principle at the project level, Regional Studies. Multilevel governance is utilized within the context of European Union Cohesion Policy on the relationship between partnerships at the programme and the project level in the Czech Republic. The main research question is: Does the partnership principle improve the implementation of public policies? The research builds on data from the monitoring system of European Structural Fund (ESF) assistance, a questionnaire survey and structured interviews with ESF beneficiaries. The case examined adds to the understanding of the wider debate on the effectiveness and management of European Union Cohesion Policy by highlighting the key components of partnership and adding value to overall performance.
With reference to cohesion policy, multi-level governance (MLG) is the policy-making architecture that implements the subsidiarity principle, which aims for direct involvement bringing government closer to the citizen. In parallel, the partnership principle (PP) has been introduced to guarantee the participation of social and economic actors in both decision making and implementation processes in order to better understand and respond to territorial needs. A review of existing literature identifies opposing views on the benefit of this complex architecture. This paper investigates potentially conflicting effects of MLG and the PP on political accountability, for example by blurring responsibilities and corrupting stakeholder engagements. The Italian case is used to test this hypothesis and identify bottlenecks. Initial findings suggest that the empowerment of new actors by means of MLG has had the effect of disclosing political influence from several players in the decision-making arena, therefore obscuring the accountability of the different tiers involved both vertically and horizontally. This is because actors in the governance chain might tend to shift blame of policy failure towards higher or lower governmental levels. Additionally, the engagement of stakeholders may reduce the efficiency of implementation processes both through a lack of inclusiveness in the decision and policymaking style or through a lack of competences within civil society in interpreting local needs in relation to EU cohesion policy goals. This article concludes by outlining possible solutions for cohesion policy practice to minimize the negative consequences of a multi-tier/multi-actor system.
Universal high-speed Internet access can productively transform a nation's economy. However, many municipalities in the United States have been left behind in terms of Internet penetration. Some municipal governments have tried to address this by launching initiatives that aim at offering citywide, universal broadband access. Unfortunately, most of these initiatives either have been discontinued or have ended in failure. Drawing on actor-network theory, we conducted a 3-year study to investigate the evolution of the Internet TV initiative in LaGrange, Georgia, in the United States. The results reveal distinct interpretations of the initiative by different actor groups (the government, the service providers, socioeconomically advantaged residents, and socioeconomically disadvantaged residents), at different stages of implementation, pointing to tensions among the various groups. These tensions reflect the structural problems embedded in the macro political, economic, and societal context. The findings offer insights for policymakers who intend to achieve universal broadband access.
This paper will assess the way in which a qualitative data analysis software package—NVivo—can be used in the data analysis process. Computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) has been seen as aiding the researcher in her or his search for an accurate and transparent picture of the data whilst also providing an audit of the data analysis process as a whole—something which has often been missing in accounts of qualitative research. This paper will compare manual techniques in the qualitative data analysis of interview transcripts with the use of NVivo. In particular, this paper will consider the difficulties surrounding interrogation of interview transcripts and will assess issues of reliability and validity in the data analysis process. The time investment required in order to make full use of NVivo's tools will also be discussed. It is shown that a combination of both manual and computer assisted methods is likely to achieve the best results.
Observation, particularly participant observation, has been used in a variety of disciplines as a tool for collecting data about people, processes, and cultures in qualitative research. This paper provides a look at various definitions of participant observation, the history of its use, the purposes for which it is used, the stances of the observer, and when, what, and how to observe. Information on keeping field notes and writing them up is also discussed, along with some exercises for teaching observation techniques to researchers-in-training.
Broadband policy has been booming with the support of European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs). However, its performance and impact remain contentious, since primary evidence is lacking. The paper studies the first Italian plan for financing broadband-deprived areas through the ESIFs, characterized by multilevel governance. It is found that its overly centralized design suffered from serious policy faults, which hampered regional efforts. Funding mismatches and other institutional obstacles disadvantaged the northern and central regions; however, because the latter enjoyed higher institutional quality, they managed to leapfrog the (more supported) southern ones. The digital agendas’ performance is shaped by the institutional quality–multilevel governance mix.
Many governments have recognised the socio-economic importance of broadband. The market often provides a broadband connection but when this does not occur governments have stepped in. Through focusing on one government intervention, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) in the UK, this paper highlights the cost of providing broadband connections to areas unserved by the market. The difficulty of assessing demand in such areas is illustrated, as is how the lack of transparency complicates any assessment of the value for money.
This paper analyses the WiFi4EU initiative, the measure proposed by the European Commission (EC) to speed up public access to Wi-Fi throughout Europe in the coming years by subsidising the infrastructure. We set out to analyse how these measures are incorporated into the EU policies for building a Gigabit Society and the EC's regulatory tradition, and what the impact is likely to be. This innovative initiative has been drawn up in a climate of uncertainties and delays, and will have an effect upon the network deployments strategies of operators and countries. The article puts all of this into the context of the current European regulation debate and conducts a techno-economic analysis to assess the expected impact of the initiative. We have observed a slight shift towards developmental models in the EC regulatory framework and a step ahead towards multi-level governance. Furthermore, the techno-economic analysis has revealed the limited extent of Community aid and the considerable variability of the equipment deployed and the expenditure involved. We have also highlighted the questionable formulation of the allocation mechanisms, and we have included certain examples or suggestions for improvement.
This editorial introduction to this special issue provides an overview and a conceptual framework of governance and economics of smart cities. We begin with a discussion of the background to smart cities and then it focuses on the key challenges for consideration in smart city economics. Here it is argued that there are four dimensions to smart city economics: the first is regarding the scale of global market for smart cities; the second issue concerns data to be used for smart city projects; the third concerns market competition and structure and the fourth concerns the impact on local economy. Likewise, smart city governance framework has to be considered a layered and multi-level concept focusing on issues of transparency and accountability to the citizens.
Scholars embrace multilevel governance as an analytical framework for complex problems, such as climate change or water pollution. However, the elements needed to comprehensively operationalize multilevel governance remain undefined in the literature. This article describes the five necessary ingredients to a multilevel framework: sanctioning and coordinating authority, provision of capacity, knowledge co-production, framing of co-benefits, and engagement of civil society. The framework’s analytical utility is illustrated through two contrasting case examples—watershed management in the United States and air quality management in China. The framework balances local and central actors, which can promote a more effective governance regime.
Energy companies and other utility providers have been often involved in the provision of telecommunications services. Nevertheless, their contribution to broadband development has varied significantly over time. In the late 1990s, both local and national utilities in the European Union (EU) engaged in the provision of broadband networks, but only few of them managed to establish themselves as major broadband providers. More recently, new projects involving national utilities have been announced in several EU countries, opening new scenarios for utilities' contribution to Next Generation Access (NGA) development. This paper identifies and explores the factors affecting the entry and the success of utilities in the EU broadband market, through the comparison of four case studies from four EU countries (Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK). The evolution of utility involvement in the EU broadband markets is assessed against the interaction of market, technology and policy factors, focusing on the impact of policy and regulatory measures. As a result, this paper provides fruitful insights into the relevance and effectiveness of public interventions in broadband markets. Across the four case studies, public support and public ownership emerged as the main drivers for the involvement of utilities in EU broadband markets, with regulatory measures and economies of scope exerting a limited and decreasing influence. However, the contribution of utilities has varied significantly across the cases studied, reflecting the different approaches taken at national and local level to support broadband development, in spite of the common regulatory framework.
There is a continuous discussion on the development and comparison of broadband infrastructures and broadband strategies of different countries and regions around the world. Is the US ahead of Europe, or is it the other way round, and how about East Asian countries? And, are there any policy reasons for it? The paper discusses three of the fundamental dimensions in broadband policies: Infrastructure vs. Service competition, regulatory vs. Developmental policies, and networks vs. Content prioritization. It examines the diverse combinations of these policy dimensions with respect to 7 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. The paper concludes that all three dimensions are found in the broadband policies of all the countries but that there are differences in the prominence of the dimensions in the individual countries.
A nascent literature has examined recent controversial policy initiatives by the Australian Government using insights from the literature on public policy evaluation. Scholars have considered inter alia the Mineral Resources Rent Tax, the Home Insulation Program, the Green Loans Program, the Building the Education Revolution and the macroeconomic stimulus package after the global financial crisis. The present paper adds to this literature by considering the National Broadband Network (NBN). The costs of implementing the NBN are examined and the paper attempts to draw some broader public policy ‘lessons‘ to inform future public policy making both in Australia and elsewhere.
The existing literature explains the emergence of European regulatory networks through the need for regulatory coordination and the battle for power between policymakers. Bringing together the Europeanization and policy feedback perspectives, this article suggests that European regulatory networks should also be seen as the result of a more complex process of mutual influence between the European and the national levels. An in-depth case study on the telecommunications sector reveals that the implementation of EU policies has contributed to the empowerment of national regulatory agencies, which, in turn, has conditioned the development of European regulatory networks. EU policy has thus indirectly conditioned the rise of European regulatory networks by previously transforming national administrations. Besides expanding our understanding of European regulatory networks, by bridging the Europeanization and policy feedback literatures, this article indicates promising orientations for future theoretical development in both fields.
The purpose of this paper is to provide instructional guidance on how to increase validity and reduce subjectivity in qualitative studies, such as grounded theory. The paper also demonstrates how different techniques can help management research by including informants/managers in a time efficient way.
This paper describes how three complementary triangulation methods can be used for validation and exploration of concepts and themes in qualitative studies. Tree graphs, concept mapping, and member checking are applied in a managerial case study, complementing a conventional grounded theory approach.
The paper suggests that naturalistic inquiries, such as grounded theory and thematic analysis, can use mixed methods and multiple sources and coders in order to offset biases and to validate and sort findings. The case study presents three different perspectives on how an organization comprehends diversity as a strategic issue.
The paper suggests a mixed methods design that addresses some of the potential shortcomings often found in grounded theory and other qualitative studies, their theory development and their documentation of processes. It positions the approach over the range of the triangulation literature and it argues that it is important to be aware of different triangulation mindsets, and these they are not necessarily contradictory.
We analyse the impact of regulation, industrial policy and jurisdictional allocation on broadband deployment using a theoretical model and an empirical estimation. Although central powers may be more focused and internalize interjurisdictional externalities, decentralized powers may internalize local horizontal policy spillovers and use a diversity of objectives as a commitment device in the presence of sunk investments. The latter may, for instance, alleviate the collective action problem of the joint use of rights of way and other physical infrastructures. In the empirical exercise, using data for OECD and EU countries for the period 1999-2006, we examine whether centralization promotes new telecommunications markets, in particular the broadband access market. The existing literature, in the main, claims it does, but we find no support for this claim in our data. Our results show that indicators of national industrial policy are a weakly positive determinant of broadband deployment and that different measures of centralization are either irrelevant or have a negative impact on broadband penetration.
GREEN A. E. and ORTON M. Policy innovation in a fragmented and complex multilevel governance context: worklessness and the City Strategy in Great Britain, Regional Studies. This paper examines whether innovative policy development within fragmented and complex multilevel governance frameworks provides a paradox in that fragmentation and complexity justify, enable, and even require the launch of initiatives to deliver 'joined-up thinking', but at the same time place inherent constraints on what can be achieved. A new empirical insight is provided through research into the City Strategy initiative in Great Britain, which aims to tackle local concentrations of worklessness by promoting innovation within a framework of institutional complexity. It is argued that structural reform to provide institutional coherence may be a prerequisite of successful sub-national policy development.
This article makes a contribution to research on soft or ‘new’ governance in EU policy making by examining the recent history of telecommunications policy as a case study, a sector hitherto not widely recognised for displaying this kind of governance. Training its focus on the process leading to the agreement of the latest iteration of the EU's Electronic Communications Regulatory Framework, the article finds strong evidence that soft governance has been used within hard governance legislative frameworks primarily as a tool of political compromise, in respect of the classic problem of securing a balance of regulatory power distribution between the national and EU level. Soft governance employed in this way casts doubt over its ability to achieve openness, common purpose, innovativeness and regulatory efficacy.
Public activity in the telecommunications industry has experienced important transformations in the last decade: “reinvolvement” in infrastructure deployment, “innovative” boosting measures, and decentralisation of some decisions. Conceptually, even more important than the measures themselves is the fact that private agents often participate in their realisation and execution. This paper reviews how justifications for public action that would apply to any economic activity area have modelled the public-private relationship in the telecommunications sector. Subsequently, it focuses on the analysis of the new spaces for public-private collaboration that are currently opening up.
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