Local Autonomy and Government Effectiveness
European governance and urban policy | Blog

Does Local Autonomy improve Government Effectiveness?

Relating the Local Autonomy Index (Ladner et al., 2021) with the Worldbank Government Effectiveness Index (Worldwide Governance Indicators, 2022) shows interesting results. While the ‘Local Autonomy Index’ ranges from 0 (weak) to 100 (strong), the ‘Government Effectiveness Index’ of the Worldbank ranges from -2.5 (weak) to 2.5 (strong) governance performance.

The visualization shows: In general, the higher the local autonomy the better the government effectiveness. On the upper right side are 13 out of 35 countries with a high local autonomy score, above 55, and a high government effectiveness score, above 1 (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, France, Norway, Germany, Portugal, Lithuania, Belgium, Estonia, Austria, Netherlands and Luxembourg).

Local Autonomy and Government Effectiveness
Local Autonomy and Government Effectiveness

Countries with weaker local autonomy perform lower in government effectiveness (e.g. quality of public services, civil service, independence from political pressures, policy formulation and implementation).

Countries in transition and countries that were hit particularly hard by the financial crises do not correspond to this picture. Here a high local autonomy value (above 55) with low government effectiveness (below 1), at the same time can be observed. This suggests that local autonomy does not automatically lead to better government effectiveness. But in general, it can be stated that there is a connection between strong local autonomy and high government effectiveness. This requires further research in order to be able to better understand the connections.


Ladner, A., Keuffer, N. and Bastianen, A. (2021). Local Autonomy Index in the EU, Council of Europe and OECD countries (1990-2020). Release 2.0. Brussels: European Commission;

Worldwide Governance Indicators: Government Effectiveness, https://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/Home/Reports, download 23.9.2022

Kelmend Zajazi
Kelmend Zajazi | Executive Director of NALAS
The long-term cooperation with KDZ means a lot to us at NALAS. In KDZ we found a peer that fully understands who we are.
Isabelle Verschuren | Federal Public Service Policy and Support (BOSA), CAF correspondent of Belgium
In the last years Belgium has planned and organised many different CAF activities (e.g. CAF training, Certification of CAF label) together with KDZ.
Josep Medrano | Director of Strategic Planning and Taxation, City of Barcelona
For the City of Barcelona, the collaboration with KDZ through the European "Cities for Sustainable Public Finances (CSPF)" has reached a qualitative advance.


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