Multi-level Governance, Public Investment and Subnational Finance

Multi-level Governance & Decentralisation


Why multi-level governance is important


In the context of growing regional inequality, the advent of megatrends, and the "geography of discontent", governments at all levels must work in a strategic, collaborative and evidence-based fashion. To do so, robust multi-level governance arrangements among national, regional and local governments, as well as across jurisdictions, are called for. This can require adapting inter-governmental roles, relationships, and institutional frameworks to improve the quality of public services, the effectiveness of public investment and the sustainability of public finance.


Projects & Publications


Decentralisation is among the most important reforms of the past 50 years. The OECD defines decentralisation as measures that transfer a range of powers, responsibilities and resources from central government to subnational governments, defined as legal entities elected by universal suffrage and having some degree of autonomy. Decentralisation outcomes – in terms of democracy, efficiency, accountability, regional and local development – depend greatly on the way decentralisation is designed and implemented.


OECD Project Supporting Decentralisation in Ukraine 2021-22

This project analyses Ukraine’s progress in implementing its multi-level governance reforms since 2014 and explores the role of regions and municipalities in disaster management. Moreover, it looks at how Ukraine, together with international partners, can use multi-level governance, regional development and decentralisation to support subnational reconstruction and recovery to address urgent humanitarian needs, rebuild local economies and communities, and strengthen their resilience.

Visit the project page for more information


Regionalisation: Reform and Governance

Regionalisation is an increasing trend in the EU and OECD. It is associated with the need to coordinate place-based policies adapted to the specific conditions of regions and to generate economies of scale in the provision of public services. We support countries to design and implement regional reforms and enhance governance at the regional level.
  • Regional Government Finance and Investment in the OECD and EU - Report and New Pilot Database
  • Regional Reform in OECD Countries (Forthcoming)
Multi-level Governance Reform: Overview of OECD Country Experiences 

This report provides an overview of “multi-level governance” reforms in OECD countries. It looks at institutional reforms, which reorganise powers, responsibilities and resources across levels of government, as well as territorial reforms, which address territorial structures, often modifying regional and local government administrative areas. It describes the rationale for different reforms, their characteristics and outcomes, as well as the obstacles faced by governments in designing and implementing them. The report includes five case studies that take an in-depth look at countries that have undertaken considerable multi-level governance reforms: Finland, France, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.


Country reviews for decentralisation and regionalisation


Related topics


Public investment and regional development 

Subnational public finance

COVID-19 & recovery in regions and cities




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