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Theoretical and Applied Economics
No. 6 / 2013 (583)

The metropolitan area as a knee-jerk response to the multilevel governance and its derived national public decisions

Cătălin Daniel DUMITRICĂ
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest
Ioana Teodora DINU
National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest

Abstract. The paper objectifies the first part of a larger projects aiming at establishing a public decision-making map pertaining to the negative externalities in the framework of the economic approach of subsidiarity in the multilevel governance (the case of Romania). The first part of the larger research project refers to testing whether the economic theory of the European Union multilevel governance, with its core consisting in the subsidiarity principle, puts more pressure on the national public decisions (more specifically those related to specific market failures), though it interferes with all state’s functions and their specific decisions.

Our research thesis begins by establishing whether the relationship between the local political elites and public governance at the level of towns and communes is considered a very straight forward, even obvious relationship. The political parties, by means of the publicly and democratically-elected officials (mayors and local council-members), make the most important decisions concerning public affairs (i.e. pertaining to a market failure examined by a second stage of the project).

In an attempt to modernize the Romanian administrative system, to make public administration more dynamic, flexible and pro-active, the local political leaders decided the development of a new type of structure, the metropolitan area. The metropolitan areas, due to the constraints of the law, were established as associative organizations, composed of several administrative-territorial units.

The paper at hand presents the establishment of the metropolitan areas in Romania as a political decision to associate towns and communes, in view of gaining access to better-performance instruments for local economic development. The emergence of the metropolitan areas in our country is strongly connected with the local political elites, the local political actors representing, in fact, the engine of the metropolitan structures and regional development.

The research will focus on the comparative analysis between the metropolitan areas in Romania, in terms of their grounds for establishment, their composition, both from the organizational and the political viewpoints, and their role in the local/regional economic development.

The case study employed in the research paper refers to the positioning of the metropolitan areas in Romania, in relation to the development regions, discussing the particularities of the metropolitan areas created with administrative structures within the same development region, as opposed to those comprising towns and communes belonging to different regions.

Furthermore, an analysis will be performed with respect to the political belonging of the leadership of the towns and communes associated in metropolitan areas, attempting to identify the possible link between this political belonging and the decision to establish a specific metropolitan area.

Finally, the authors will present the connection between the functionality of the metropolitan area (quickness of decisions, consultations between the towns and communes, unity of decisions) and the specific political parties in power in those administrative structures.

Keywords: regional development; multi-level governance; local authorities; public decision; metropolitan areas.

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