The Impact of Metagovernance on Local Governance Networks: Lessons from Danish Employment Policy

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This article analyses the impact of metagovernance on the functioning of local governance networks. It does so by comparing the functioning of four local governance networks in the field of local employment policy in Denmark. Between 2007 and 2009, two of these networks were linked to jobcentres in which the municipality and a state agency shared responsibility for employment policy, while the other two were linked to jobcentres in which the municipality had full responsibility. We explore two types of metagovernance that the local governance networks were subject to: general, hands-off metagovernance consisting of the assignment of full responsibility to the municipality alone, or of shared responsibility to the municipality and the state jointly; and tailored and fine-tuned metagovernance directed towards only one or a few networks and their corresponding jobcentre(s). Our findings suggest that, as network governance becomes a mature phenomenon, the importance of metagovernance increases, particularly for strategic reasons. More specifically, we find that the functioning of local governance networks is only marginally affected by acts of general, hands-off metagovernance, such as the different organisational set-ups ascribed to the jobcentres. More influential are the hands-on network management tools, such as direct consultancy. Hands-on metagovernance instruments, however, are more costly for the metagovernor. Whichever tool is applied, the local actors' responsiveness to metagovernance is significant for the outcome.
TidsskriftLocal Government Studies
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)291-316
Antal sider25
StatusUdgivet - 2011

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