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Last updated: April 30, 2018

Multilevel governance within states: regional authority

This project develops a measure and a theory of regional governance. The Regional Authority Index (RAI) tracks regional authority on an annual basis from 1950 to 2010 in 81 countries. The sample consists of all EU member states, all OECD member states, all Latin American countries, ten countries in Europe beyond the EU and eleven in the Pacific and South-East Asia. The unit of analysis is the individual region/ regional tier. Click here for a summary of the measure. We are working on an update of the data through 2018 as well as extending the RAI to new countries.

The theory explains how scale and community shape the structure of government within states. Which groups at which scales have authority to make what kinds of decisions? The core of the project is summarized in two books:

Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, Arjan Schakel, Sandra Chapman Osterkatz, Sara Niedzwiecki, and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield. 2016. Measuring Regional Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance: Volume I. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 687pp.

Measuring Regional Authority sets out a measure of regional authority for 81 countries. Part I lays out the theoretical, conceptual, and scoring decisions before the reader, and Part II provides country summaries of regional governance.

Table of contents


1. Transparency in Measurement
2. Crossvalidating the Regional Authority Index
3. How We Apply the Coding Scheme

Replication Chapter 1, Table 1.4 (stata do file; output log; output PDF)
Replication Chapter 1, Figure 1.2 (excel; output)
Replication Chapter 2 (stata data; stata data aggregate; stata do file)


1. North America
2. Central America & the Caribbean
3. South America [example: Argentina] 4. Asia Pacific
5. Northern and Western Europe
6. Central & Eastern Europe and Russia
7. Southern Europe [example: Spain]



Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks. 2016. Community, Scale, and Regional GovernanceA Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance: Volume II. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 195pp.

Community, Scale, and Regional Governance argues that jurisdictional design is shaped by functional and communal pressures. Functional pressures arise from the character of the public goods provided by government: scale economies, externalities, informational asymmetries. However, to explain demands for self-rule one needs to understand how people think and act in relation to the communities they conceive themselves belonging. Scale and community explain basic features of governance, including the growth of multiple tiers; how jurisdictions are designed; why governance within the state has become differentiated; and the extent to which regions exert authority.

Table of contents

1. Scale and Community
2. Measuring Regional Authority
3. Trends in Regional Authority
4. Designing Jurisdictions
5. Community and Differentiated Governance
6. Community and The Structure of Governance
7. Five Theses on Regional Governance

The RAI data*

Data for the Regional Authority Index (RAI) are in two datasets: one with annual scores for 231 regional governments/tiers in 65 countries for 1950-2010, and one with annual scores for 81 countries for 1950-2010.

Regional data

Country data (regional scores aggregated to the country)

Additional Documentation

* March 2016

Citation: Hooghe, Liesbet, Gary Marks, Arjan H. Schakel, Sandi Chapman Osterkatz, Sara Niedzwiecki, Sarah Shair-Rosenfield (2016). Measuring Regional Authority: A Postfunctionalist Theory of Governance, Volume I. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Other work by team members:

Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks. 2018. Symposium on measuring and theorizing regional governance. Territory, Governance, Politics. Contributions by Kent Eaton, JP Faguet, Imke Harbers, and a response by Arjan H. Schakel, Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, Sara Niedzwiecki, Sandra Chapman-Osterkatz, and Sarah Shair-Rosenfield.

Sarah Niedzwiecki, Sandra Chapman-Osterkatz, Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks. 2017. “The RAI Travels to Latin America: Measuring regional authority under regime change.” Under review.

Arjan Schakel, Gary Marks, Liesbet Hooghe. 2015. Multilevel Governance and the State. In Oxford Handbook on the Transformation of the State, edited by Stephan Leibfried, Evelyne Huber, John Stephens. Oxford: OUP, 266-82.

Sarah Shair-Rosenfield, Gary Marks, Liesbet Hooghe. 2014. A Comparative Measure of Decentralization for Southeast Asia. Journal of East Asian Studies, 14 (1): 85-108. SEA replication.

Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks. 2013. Beyond Federalism: Estimating and Explaining the Territorial Structure of Government. Publius, 43 (2): 179-204. Online appendix..

Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, Arjan H. Schakel. 2010The Rise of Regional Authority: A Comparative Study of 42 democracies (1950-2006).(London: Routledge).

Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, Arjan H. Schakel. 2008. Special issue on “Measuring Regional Authority”, Regional and Federal Studies, 18, 2-3: 111-302.

Marks; Hooghe; Schakel. Measuring regional authority
Hooghe; Marks; Schakel. Operationalizing regional authority
Schakel. Validation of regional authority index
Marks; Hooghe; Schakel. Patterns of regional authority
Appendix A: Profiles of Regional Reform in 42 Countries (1950-2006)
Appendix B: Country and Regional Scores
Appendix C: A Library on Regional Authority

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