Under what conditions is decentralisation a salient issue for state-wide political parties? It is argued in this article that the extent to which state-wide parties emphasise decentralisation depends on their strategic considerations: on their overall ideology, on the electoral incentives created by the context in which they compete, and on the interaction between the two. The results of the analysis of party manifestos in 31 countries since 1945 are as follows. First, parties that pay greater attention to cultural matters relative to economic matters tend to talk more about decentralisation. Second, the systemic salience of decentralisation also encourages parties to talk more about decentralisation. Third, the larger the regionally based ethnic groups within a country, the more salience all state-wide political parties will attach to decentralisation. Finally, only parties that put greater relative emphasis on cultural matters tend to respond to the electoral threat of regionalist parties. The influence of territorial diversity on the salience of decentralisation thus works through two channels and is partly conditioned by political parties’ ideological profile.
Toubeau, S., & Wagner, M. (in press). Party competition over decentralisation: the influence of ideology and electoral incentives on issue emphasis. European Journal of Political Research, 55(2), https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.12133