Perils of Centralization: Lessons from Church, State, and Corporation

Overview

In this provocative and wide-ranging book, Ken Kollman examines the histories of the U.S. government, the Catholic Church, General Motors, and the European Union as examples of federated systems that centralized power over time. He shows how their institutions became locked-in to intensive power in the executive. The problem with these and other federated systems is that they often cannot decentralize even if it makes sense. The analysis leads Kollman to suggest some surprising changes in institutional design for...
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Perils of Centralization: Lessons from Church, State, and Corporation

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Overview

In this provocative and wide-ranging book, Ken Kollman examines the histories of the U.S. government, the Catholic Church, General Motors, and the European Union as examples of federated systems that centralized power over time. He shows how their institutions became locked-in to intensive power in the executive. The problem with these and other federated systems is that they often cannot decentralize even if it makes sense. The analysis leads Kollman to suggest some surprising changes in institutional design for these four cases and for federated institutions everywhere.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Organization theorists across the social sciences, from political science to economics to history, will profit from and enjoy Ken Kollman’s ambitious attempt to conduct organizational analysis across nation-state, church, business, and political union and to bear naked the forces that lead to increased centralization. Expect this book to start a lively discussion across these disciplines!” – Jacques Crémer, Toulouse School of Economics

“Ken Kollman’s theory of centralization goes against the grain of conventional wisdom, yet uses political science to set out an argument that will be debated in the years to come. The key claim is that separation of powers between the central executive and constituent units drives a process of progressive centralization. Kollman develops the argument with skill and sensitivity to carefully researched cases. Step by step, crisis after crisis, this has been the trajectory for the United States, the Catholic Church, and GM Motors. Only the European Union is unfinished business. This is a bold contribution, beautifully written, and likely to provoke a lively debate.” – Liesbet Hooghe, W. R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & Chair in Multilevel Governance, VU University Amsterdam

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Ken Kollman is Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the International Institute at the University of Michigan. He has written numerous books and articles on political parties, political organizations, and elections. His research and written work have been recognized with multiple awards, and have contributed in diverse fields such as computational social science, comparative and American politics, European Union studies, and comparative political parties and elections. He is principal investigator of the Constituency-Level Elections Archive, the largest repository of election results data in the world.
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Trajectories in federated institutions; 3. Nation-state; 4. Church; 5. Corporation; 6. International political union; 7. The elusive balance.
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