Political domination through funding mechanisms

The example of the “dotation de solidarité communautaire” (DSC)
By Rémy Le Saout, Sébastien Segas

English

Research related to inter-municipal reforms in France has shown that these policies can be successful only if local representatives have enough autonomy to implement them. In this article, we discuss this plasticity of mechanisms that are associated with territorial reforms. In particular, we focus on a financial instrument, the Local Council Solidarity Funding. This funding mechanism allows inter-municipal organizations to finance local councils with revenues coming from corporate taxes and to favor solidarity between the different local councils that make up the public co-operative inter-municipal institution. The extreme malleability of the mechanism allows for regional variations in the definition of the level of funding, its attribution criteria and its repartition. However, and this is the main hypothesis of this article, this malleability does not favor equitable negotiations between local representatives but in fact reinforces the complexity of this financial instrument, which in turn contributes to restricting the number of local representatives that can actually master its use and its subtleties. This instrument consolidates the structure of ongoing inter-municipal orders in which local councils, notably the poorest, are dispossessed of their political autonomy.

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