‘This book restores local democracy to its rightful place at the center of our understanding of national politics. Through an illuminating, comparative historical analysis, the authors show that systematic variations in local political incorporation have laid down enduring differences in the character of multilevel democracy, with far-reaching consequences for policymaking and the quality of democracy. A must-read!'
Christopher Ansell - University of California, Berkeley
‘Local governments are often overlooked in discussions on the formation of modern democracies. This insightful and carefully researched book shows why they should not be: local institutional incorporation in the nation state is historically meaningful for democracies.'
Merilee S. Grindle - Harvard University, Massachusetts
‘Multilevel Democracy offers an original and fascinating account of institutional endurance and change. The authors' analyses challenges our understanding of state formation, political mobilization, and institutions. Perhaps most importantly, they show the role of local democracy and institutions in developing democratic states, and the significance of ‘vertical circuits of power and influence' between institutions at different levels of the polity in shaping and sustaining democracy. If Acemoglu and Robinson, in their seminal work, showed the importance of good institutions for economic growth, Sellers, Lidström and Bae show a similar pattern for the development of democracy and governance. This book should be required readings for all students of democracy, institutions and governance.'
Jon Pierre - Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden
‘A breakthrough book in comparative urban analysis! Following in the tradition of Tocqueville, the trio of Sellers, Lidstrom, and Bae provide a multi-national treatment of how state and civil society are interwoven with local-national relations. Resisting the temptation to retreat into vague abstractions about multiscalar politics, the authors use a much-needed comparative approach that grounds their work in examinations of cross-national experiences. During an era in which democratic advancement faces numerous obstacles, Multilevel Democracy offers lessons that can be applied in a time of great challenges. By emphasizing the important role of civil society, this book moves scholarship beyond a limited political-economy conception into a framework that is more accommodating to the vital part that civil society plays in shaping governance in today's world.'
Clarence N. Stone - George Washington University, Washington DC