Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of decentralization refers to the allocation of power in organizations or social structures usually from the higher to the lower-level structure(s)/organization(s). It can describe either an existing structure in which smaller or peripheral units have effective powers or a process of structural change implying a shift of power from the center to these units. The structure concerned can be a network differentiated into a center and a periphery, a hierarchical organization internally differentiated into sectors or subdivisions, or a territorial organization differentiated into levels of geographical space. In political science, decentralization usually refers to multilevel structures of government or administration. It results from (re)allocation of power to elect or denominate policymakers of legislative or administrative competences or of fiscal resources from higher to lower levels. Given interdependencies between levels, decentralization is to be regarded as a relational concept. The effects of policies made by lower-level units depend on ...