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Inter-Municipal Cooperation in Europe

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)
Author Steiner Reto, Kaiser Claire,
Project Local Autonomy and Local Public Sector Reforms
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Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)

Book Inter-municipal cooperation in Europe : institutions and governance
Editor , Teles Filipe; , Swianiewicz Pawel
Publisher Springer International Publishing, Cham
Page(s) 173 - 187
ISBN 978-3-319-62818-9
Title of proceedings Inter-municipal cooperation in Europe : institutions and governance
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-62819-6_9


Given the need to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and capacities, reforms that cross municipal boundaries have increased in importance (see, for example, Kersting & Vetter 2003). Collaboration among municipalities is one possible reform strategy for local governments aiming to achieve economies of scale, to improve the quality of services or to achieve higher visibility. Particularly in decentralized countries with autonomous municipalities, intermunicipal cooperation (IMC) is inherent, and many municipalities need to cooperate to fulfill their tasks adequately (CoE, UNDP & LGI 2010). Using the Swiss case, we examine, in depth, a country with highly autonomous municipalities. When compared internationally, Swiss municipalities have a high degree of autonomy, fulfil manifold tasks and are relatively small, with a median population size of approximately 1400. Therefore, many municipalities are highly reliant on cooperation with other local authorities to provide their services appropriately, and inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) has a long tradition in Switzerland. This chapter addresses the following research questions: What is the diffusion of IMC in Switzerland, and what are the possible driving factors? In which task areas is IMC most and least common? How is IMC formally organized? What are the advantages and disadvantages of IMC? What policy advice can be given to local governments regarding future efforts in IMC? The underlying data for this chapter come from a survey of Swiss municipalities, which was conducted in 2017, with a response rate of 82.3 per cent.