State support for development initiatives in peripheral regions: enduring political centralism in an age of global localisation

Simon White

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Set against the backdrop of increasing integration of the world economy, this thesis is concerned with the role the nation-state plays in supporting the development of subnational regions. Globalisation has changed the ways nation-states manage their economies, while exposing sub-national regions to the influence of international competition. Variations in levels of development have always been found across subnational regions. However, as national boundaries become more porous, localities within the world economy become more significant; global localisation has created new opportunities for the development of sub-national regions. Political processes play a role in determining the capacity of sub-national regions to respond to global change. This thesis compares the approaches of two very different nation-states, Australia and Namibia, in supporting regional initiatives. It was hypothesized that major differences would be found and, in particular, that the wealthier state would exhibit greater local autonomy and initiative. Instead, the approaches were found to be remarkably similar. Variations were found in the resources and capacity of these nation-states to support regional initiatives, but both relied on centralised approaches to regional development. While there are clear differences in the capacities of the sub-national regions examined to take charge of their own development, little evidence was found of true partnership or collaboration between the nation-state and regional, governmental and non-governmental, actors in either nation. The thesis contributes to a better understanding of the ways nation-states interact with sub-national regions. It demonstrates that globalisation is not transforming this relationship, at least as it concerns peripheral regions. It suggests (but does not demonstrate) that national-states might do well to make more use of the endogenous resources of their less developed regions.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2005


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