Summer School 2019 for Ph.D. Students in Local Governance

Event Information

ZHAW School of Management and Law
End Date
Contact Email

Topic and Objectives

All over the world, local authorities are significant players in the provision of public services. In recent decades, decentralization has become an important reform strategy in many countries, usually with the support of international organizations. Traditional sources suggest that efficiency and quality gains in the provision of public services are achieved through decentralization, along with greater expectations for accountability and responsiveness. Some scholars have warned, however, that decentralization is not without its dangers. For example, local administrations may be understaffed, financially challenged, or feel pressure from local political elites, which can affect the quality of public service provision. There is also a risk of inequality between poorer and richer municipalities.

The aim of this year’s Summer School for PhD students interested in local government issues is to discuss the extent to which local government might be the most suitable tier of government for the delivery of public services. Potential topics may include:

  •     What functions should be performed at the local tier of government?
  •     Do managerial and territorial reforms improve service delivery at the local level?
  •     What needs to change about the organization of local governments in order to make them more effective and efficient in delivering public services?
  •     Can a per-equation system help to decrease inequality between local governments due to capacity?
  •     What are the key elements of effective inter-governmental relations between national, state/provincial, and local governments?
  •     Does decentralization lead to more input legitimacy?
  •     How can we measure local autonomy?

In various lectures, leading scholars will present the status quo and discuss theories to help their audience understand these topics and how they relate to one another, using comparative studies, for example, to show local service delivery across different policy areas, tiers of government, organizational contexts, and countries. In addition, PhD students are invited to present a paper.

As an integral part of this year’s Summer School, the hosts are organizing a program of excursions and social activities in Winterthur and Zurich, as well as a sightseeing trip to Aescher-Wildkirchli in the Swiss Alps, one of National Geographic’s "Destinations of a Lifetime".


To apply for the ECPR/EURA Summer School 2019, complete the online registration form.

If you have any questions, please contact Christoph Ebnöther:

Your application must include:

  •     Name of participant, university affiliation, and address
  •     Detailed curriculum vitae, including a list of publications
  •     Statement of motivation (How will the Summer School be relevant for your research?)
  •     A reference (e.g., a supervisor or faculty member) who can be contacted
  •     For PhD students wishing to be graded: abstract of the paper they will present. The abstract must be a maximum of two pages and should include the research questions, hypotheses, methodology, and structure of the paper.

A sponsorship program set up by the ZHAW School of Management and Law will cover the registration fee for six participants. To apply for sponsorship, please fill in the online registration form accordingly and provide a motivation statement explaining why your registration fee should be waived.

The application deadline is 20 April 2019. You will be notified by 25 April 2019 as to whether your application has been successful.