Empowering Local Democracy In Catalonia: Tools And Policy Domains To Implement a Top-Down Solution

This article is the result of an ongoing research into a variety of features of Spanish local government . It aims, in particular, at providing a profile of the tools implemented by local authorities to improve local democracy in Catalonia. The main hypothesis of the work is that, even though the Spanish local model is constrained by a shared and unique set of legal regulations, local institutions in Catalonia have developed their own model of local participation. And the range of instruments like these is still now increasing. More specifically, the scope of this research is twofold. On the one hand, different types of instruments for public deliberation in the Catalan local administration system are identified and presented, based on the place they take in the policy cycle. On the other hand, we focus on policy domains and the quality of the decision-making processes. Researching the stability of the participation tools or whether local democracy prefers more “ad hoc” processes allows us to analyze the boundaries/limits of local democracy in Catalonia. The main idea underlying this paper is that, despite the existence of a single legal model regulating municipalities in Catalonia, local authorities tend to use their legally granted self-management capacities to design their own instruments which end up presenting perceivable distinct features, stressing democracy in different policy domains, and in diverse policy cycles. Therefore, this paper is intended to identify such models and to provide factors (variables) so that an explanatory model can be built
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