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Ethnic diversity and local governance quality

The case of Opole Province in Poland


Wojciech Opioła and Bartosz Czepil

The book is devoted to relations between the ethnic diversity and the quality of governance at the local level. Opolskie province in Poland is a case for explaining this interdependence. That is because of its history of multiculturalism and the present state of its ethnic diversity. The important feature of this region is, that nearly half of the communes is ethnically homogenous when the rest is ethnically diversified with a strong position of German and Silesian minorities. The preliminary assumption was, that the quality of governance would be higher in communes characterized by ethnic diversity. On the basis of the nested analysis method, authors conducted quantitative and qualitative analysis.  
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II Ethnic diversity and quality of governance. Conceptualization and measurement at the commune level


Before we focus on the issue of the conceptualization and operationalization of the notions of “ethnic diversity” and “quality of governance”, it is necessary to present a general description of the specific character of the administrative level that is being surveyed and compared. This is because the legal and political status of the Polish commune and its social and demographic specificity can have an effect on the directions and possibilities of the quality of governance in the commune. Consequently, these characteristic features should be taken into consideration in the interpretation of research results.

Since 1999 Poland has had a three-level territorial division system within which two local government segments have been shaped: the local system covering communes and districts and the regional system based on provinces. These changes of 1999 have occurred as a part of democratization process of post-Soviet Poland (which had started already in 1989), with the objectives, like: strengthening of local self-government, decentralization and deconcentration of political power (Yoder 2003).

Relations among these three segments of regional and local government are based on a combination of partnership in most cases, however antagonisms over conflicting jurisdictions happen as well. It should be noted that at present the district is regarded as the weakest local government link with a weak financial base, while the commune constitutes the center of local power (Wojciechowski et al. 2014: 19–20). According to the typology of local government systems in Eastern Europe proposed by Paweł Swianiewicz, the Polish system,...

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