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Journal section "Territorial organization and management"

Empirical Analysis of Russian and Foreign Experience of Consolidation of Municipalities

Leonov S.N.

Volume 27, Issue 6, 2023

Leonov S.N. (2023). Empirical analysis of Russian and foreign experience of consolidation of municipalities. Problems of Territory's Development, 27 (6), 10–23. DOI: 10.15838/ptd.2023.6.128.2

DOI: 10.15838/ptd.2023.6.128.2

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Currently, a worldwide trend is being formed to “optimize” the scheme of territorial organization of municipalities to reduce the lack of financial resources and stimulate municipal development. Often, such “optimization” occurs by revising the administrative boundaries of municipalities, encouraging their enlargement, formally reducing the number of municipalities and actually “compressing” the territorial structure of local self-government itself. In the article, using general scientific research methods, we carry out a comparative analysis of approaches to improving the territorial structure of local self-government in terms of the enlargement of municipalities in Russia and foreign countries. We analyze theoretical positions developed by modern science, as well as the experience of the modern stage of consolidation of municipalities in European countries, Australia and Russia proposed by the practice of municipal construction are analyzed. We pay particular attention to the arguments of supporters and opponents of the consolidation of municipalities, its economic, social and managerial aspects, options for “splitting” the acute budgetary insufficiency of municipalities and effects of this process for the activity of local governments. We conclude that there are a number of negative effects of the enlargement of municipalities from the point of view of the development of local self-government, as well as the failure of the argument about budget savings during the enlargement of municipalities. The expected savings on administrative expenses, even if they are observed, are covered by an increase in the costs of fulfilling the main powers of the municipality (for education and health care). At the same time, we note that negative demographic trends lead to the need to consolidate municipalities in sparsely populated areas. The article shows the importance of the development of inter-municipal cooperation as an alternative institution to support municipal development. The work contains a number of practice-oriented conclusions and recommendations. The scientific novelty of the work consists in substantiating theoretical and practical proposals for improving the organization of the process of consolidation of municipalities in the Russian Federation

Keywords

russia, municipalities, local self-government, inter-municipal cooperation, local self-government bodies, Russia, Local self-government, territorial reform

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