Decentralisation: What Does it Contribute to? Added Value of Decentralisation for Living Conditions in Core Cities of the EU

Michiel S. de Vries


This paper investigates the effects of decentralisation on living conditions in core cities of the European Union. It uses data from the Urban Audit to investigate whether the level of local expenditures relative to central government expenditures has any impact on the subjective appreciation of local living conditions as measured in the Urban Audit Survey in 75 cities as well as the actual quality of local living conditions as measured by comparative crime, traffic, urban space and health statistics as measured in 560 cities. It investigates the impact of decentralisation on these living conditions controlling for background factors such as population density, median income of households and unemployment in the cities.
The analyses show that decentralisation does have an added value in explaining citizen’s satisfaction with regard to public and green space, public transport, health care, reduces actual crime and increases feeling of safety.
This research is novel, because it is one of the first to present the outcomes of comparative statistical analyses in which positive impact of decentralisation on social living conditions on the local level is found.


Decentralisation; living conditions; European Union; Urban Audit

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603