How Institutional Designs Condition Local Political Leadership

Jacob Torfing*, Tina Øllgaard Bentzen, Marte Windvold

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article aims to test whether local governments can enhance the elected councillors’ perceived political leadership by changing the institutional design that conditions their ability to define problems that call for collective action, design policy solutions and mobilise support for their implementation. The study draws on new research on political leadership and institutional design and data from surveys conducted in Denmark and Norway. The analytical framework distinguishes between four different but overlapping institutional design strategies, and the main finding is that institutional designs aiming to enhance executive, collective or distributive political leadership are associated with an increase in perceived political leadership, whereas – surprisingly – institutional designs aiming to enhance interactive political leadership are not. Upon closer inspection, however, the impact of interactive institutional designs on political leadership seems to be conditioned on whether the power relation between politicians and administrators is balanced or unbalanced
Translated title of the contributionHvordan institutionelle designs betinger lokalt politisk lederskab
Original languageEnglish
JournalLocal Government Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Sep 2020


  • Local counsellors
  • Political leadership
  • Institutional design
  • Democracy
  • Collaborative governance

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