Stoker, G. and Mossberger, K.
Urban regime theory in comparative perspective
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 12, (2), . (doi:10.1068/c120195).
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The urban literature has devoted increasing attention to cross-national comparison of urban change and governance. What is lacking, however, is the development of conceptual frameworks that are adequate to embrace the greater variation in conditions encountered in cross-national research, compared with conditions within a single country. Without such a framework, comparison remains an exercise in depicting unique and unrelated cases. Urban regime theory holds potential for explaining the variety of arrangements through which policymakers in cities have coped with change, because of its sensitivity to local conditions and local actors. Its essential contribution is to focus attention on the collective action problems that have to be overcome for effective urban governance to emerge. The nature of the collective action challenge varies according to the purpose, composition, and position of potential regime partners. Substantial differences in motivating factors must be taken into account in order to apply regime analysis cross-nationally. Drawing upon differences already identified in the regime literature, the authors propose a typology of organic, instrumental, and symbolic regimes.
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