The purpose of this article is to analyse opinions and attitudes of inhabitants of a Silesian town of Tychy toward the civil society and local democracy. Basing on sociological research done in the spring 2003 and reinterpretation of sociological research of the town, the article shows an activity related to and awareness of these issues among the local community in times of democracy and free market economy. The example of Tychy is specific because during the socialist period sociologists emphasised the fact that it was a socialist town. After political transition, scientists and researchers have pointed that urban community has a disintegrated character and that social bonds must be created in order to cope with regional development. The present article is especially focused on changes which have taken place over the past few years in Tychy.
The paper presents the basic consequences of the introduction of single-member districts (the FPTP system) in municipal elections in Poland. The authors analyze the results of the 2010 and 2014 elections (before and after the electoral reform). Basing on the difference-in-differences research scheme, the paper presents changes in the municipalities where either block- -voting or proportional representation systems were replaced by the FPTP. The empirical analyses demonstrate that the change from the BV to the FPTP system brought only marginal effects. The replacement of the PR system by the FPTP was more visible. Quite paradoxically, it increased the number of committees competing in the elections. However, the disproportionality and the share of wasted votes increased significantly, while the fragmentation of local councils decreased. In the municipalities previously using a proportional representation system, the number of candidates decreased visibly; contrary to the initial assumptions, its impact was neutral to the share of elected female councillors. The introduction of the FPTP system significantly limited the already weak presence of nation-wide political parties in local councils.
The authors consider the problem of limited supply of candidates for mayors. Since 2002, most electoral committees in Polish municipalities have only participated in the elections for municipal councils and not for the principal executive office. Between 2002 and 2010, there was also a growing share of municipalities in which only one candidate ran. The logistic regression analysis demonstrates that the electoral committees’ decision whether or not to nominate a candidate is influenced by their size (popularity), as well as the size of the municipality. If there is a dominating committee and competing incumbents, it is less probable that another candidate would run. It is evident that the well-known effect of incumbency advantage works not only during the elections but also before them (when candidates are registered).
The impact of ICT use is an important aspect of studies concerning the transformation of contemporary democracy. The paper presents results of the research project on the development of e-government in Polish self-government institutions, carried out between 2005 and 2012. Websites of all Polish territorial counties as well as all the communes in two voivodships were analyzed within the project. Results of the research indicate that the sophistication of the ICT use grows at both levels of self–government. At the same time significant regional differences in the development of e–government can be observed. Thus, the mode ICT is used by self-government institutions is the additional dimension of digital divide at local level.
Marek S. Szczepański, Małgorzata Tyrybon
The method and rules of elections of village heads and village council-members, which are conducted at meetings of village residents, are one of the last examples of direct democracy. Even though this form of democracy has been studied and described previously, the electoral rivalry within rural communities is marginalized; therefore, it is little known. The paper tries to define the features of electoral competition and analyze rivalry at this level of government. It has been based on a case study of one commune and three research methods have been used: direct observation, document analysis and personal interviews. Additionally, the paper presents sociological and demographic studies on some of the newly elected village heads and their councils.
Tourism can cause changes in various areas of life of receptive societies. Each of them can be of functional or dysfunctional character. A lot depends on the type of tourism and the visited society itself. Tourism is seen as a vital development factor in the Podhale region. It is therefore crucial to know what the local people think about tourism. Their negative attitude to this particular sector of the economy can hinder or limit its development.
In the past twenty years, research on the measurement of social capital has been among the leading areas of interest in social sciences. The impact of ethnic diversity on the level of social capital is an interesting aspect of this research. According to Robert Putnam, in the U.S. context, ethnic diversity has a negative influence on the level of social capital. Various research initiatives implemented in Europe indicate, however, that ethnic diversity does not have a significantly negative correlation with social capital, and, that examples of its positive impact on social capital can be found. The article presents a quantitative analysis conducted in 20 municipalities of the Opolskie Voivodship (10 of them ethnically homogeneous, and 10 – ethnically diversified) in order to analyse this relationship. On the basis of the data collected in the analysis, it can be stated that in the surveyed region, ethnic diversity is not a factor with a negative impact on the level of social capital, and it is also highly probable that it is a factor that enhances social capital, at least its bonding dimension.
This article discusses a particular type of social conflict, which is NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) syndrome. It has been very well studied and described by American sociologists. Although NIMBY syndrome has been present in Poland for relatively short time it is de?nately a sign of organising different types of local communities against interfering processes. Although usually depicted as negative phenomenon in most con?icts in the region of lodz it has proved to increase local activity, created new channels of social communication and leaders. It can be also stated that NIMBY syndrome has its source in omitting or separating local community from decision-making procedures and insufficient information on affair/venture being planned. The research revealed that NIMBY protests were characterised by violent beginning, significant time of existence and appearance of sudden, violent and often abrupt reactions of community during time of the con?ict. Dominating forms of activity were petitions and letters being written form. Another activities covered blockades, manifestations, demonstrations and destruction of construction machines or construction site itself. Most frequent form of extinguishing the con?ict was arbitrage which is forcing administrative decision against community which resulted in increasing distance between the community, local authorities and investor.
The aim of the article is to describe the phenomenon of non-partisanship of local governments in large Polish cities. It is a report from a research conducted in Wroclaw, Gdynia and Katowice. The article contains a description of typical justifications of non-partisanship, an identification of differences between partisan and non-partisan city councillors and a description of quasi-partisan organizations functioning as political support for non-partisan mayors. The results of the research confirm the existence of a specific category of local activists consistently rejecting party politics and very often having no political ambitions concerning higher levels of government; this category is typical for quasi-partisan organizations. The research demonstrates that non-partisanship can be a means of institutionalization of a particular manner of understanding and making politics. One of the final conclusions is that the problems of partisanship and non-partisanship at the local level are derivatives of a vague relationship between public administration and politics at the local level.
Local referenda are a special form of direct democracy in Poland. As a result of some legal solutions and in the light of practice, now reaching back for over ten years, they must be considered as a populist and ineffective instrument. This refers primarily to the referenda on recalling local authorities such as city council and mayor, accounting for 85%-90% of all such events. The practice of local referenda in Poland embraces approximately 400 cases. During the first three terms in office of the territorial self-government (1990-2002), 347 referenda concerned recalling the communal councils. Such referenda may be initiated only by the residents of the commune. Only 37 of these referenda proved to be decisive, as their attendance turnout exceeded 30%. The effectiveness of referenda is limited mostly to small towns (up to 20 thousand residents), where the threshold turnout is usually reached.
The subject of the paper is the participation of non-partisan candidates in local elections in Poland after 2002. The analysis of the prevalence of non-partisanship provides information on the political parties’ performance at the local level. The paper presents analyses of electoral data from the local elections held in 2002, 2006, and 2010. We have used various indicators of non-partisanship which demonstrate the performance of non-partisans in municipalities of different size, the domination of non-partisan mayors over other candidates, the strength of their clubs in councils, and the disproportions of political support between them and their committees. The results of the research show that although the share of non-partisans in local authorities is still very high, it has been gradually decreasing since 2002.
The article presents the history of decentralisation reforms in Ukraine beginning with the last decade of the 20th century until the end of the year 2021, with a special focus on the territorial-administrative reform implemented in 2015–2020. The level of local autonomy in Ukraine is compared to the local autonomy index in other European countries, which was created on the basis of the same methodology.
Planned large-scale animal farms are often the subject of protests by local communities due to the nuisance they generate. The active participation of local residents occurs at an early stage of the investment process, namely the proceedings for issuing an environmental decision, because it is at this stage that location and characteristics of the facility are determined. The article analyses 52 cases of proceedings to set the environmental conditions for the construction of animal farms in which there were documented protests of local residents. The aim of the paper is to determine the course of environmental proceedings for animal farms under the influence of residents’ protests, as well as to determine whether environmental conditions are eventually established. The statements of protesting residents are presented by means of references to the category of knowledge in decision-making (Glicken 1999, 2000; Edelenbos 2011). The study showed that despite the binding rule that public opposition cannot be the basis for refusing to set environmental conditions, the protesting residents indirectly influence the final, usually negative, result of the environmental impact assessment. By blocking the realisation of unwanted investments, they have a real impact on the shaping of the local space.
If architectural heritage in cities is recognisable for the masses, it does not raise doubts as to its value. However, if the architecture is controversial, relatively young, or can be associated with a problematic legacy and difficult past, its valuation raises ambiguities. Unconventional valuation methods can help resolve these uncertainties, making it easier for local decision-makers to make sounder decisions. This paper presents a proposal for valuing Warsaw’s modernist WKD Ochota train station, using a combination of cost-benefit analysis and a Delphi panel. The study carried out for the purposes of this article revealed that such architecture, although ambiguous, is treated by the local community as valuable not only in economic terms, but also in social and cultural terms.
The article is devoted to the role of the local political elites in the process of local commune (gmina) development. The research was made in three municipalities that differ in terms of economic development and their location on the territory of Poland. The author discusses the relation between the social-economic awareness of the councillors and the commune development strategy. She confronts the strengths and weaknesses of the municipalities in question as perceived by the local decision-makers with their communal development strategies and the course of action undertaken. The analysis of the development strategies of the three communes shows different approaches to strategic planning that result from differing attitudes of the councillors towards the creation of economic progress which, in turn, have a fundamental influence on the functioning of local structures.
The reform of the EU cohesion policy for the period 2007–2013 resulted with policy adjustments in member states. The changes, as showed by the analysis for EU 15, new member states (with particular attention given to Poland) and Norway – take various forms, depending on specific local factors. Some of discussed reforms seem to be the consequence of changing the paradigm of development. The authors offer a review of the most important issues and define the subjects requiring further studies.
The article presents the course of the territorial and administrative changes ongoing in Warsaw from the inter-War period to the present day. It draws upon many documents and studies from the period during which the system by which the capital city was administered changed many times, with different innovative ideas being put forward very often. Although the present shape of Warsaw is still very much based upon that set out in the Act of 18 May 1990, every new Act relating to the administrative system of Warsaw has meant major changes for the way the city is administered and functions. The modifications and transformations in question are discussed in detail in the article, along with their consequences.
This paper provides a review of structure and contents of Local Economic Development (LED) programmes. It also offers a list of data and information necessary to develop and implement such programmes. The author emphasises the difference in approach to LED by the researchers (theorists) and the practitioners, dealing with LED on every day basis. This gap, according to the author is in part a legacy centrally managed economy and is typical for the countries in transition period.
The article presents intersectoral partnerships forming Local Action Groups, and analyzes the mechanisms of emergence of such partnerships in the Podkarpackie region, particularly factors contributing to their emergence, their initiators and partner-recruitment methods, as well as the relations of partnerships with their social milieu, decision-making inside partnerships and expectations regarding their future. The theoretical framework of the study is rooted in the neoinstitutional theory with its historical, normative, rational-choice and network approaches. Based on them, the authors formulate some hypotheses referring to the innovativeness of the partnerships, the supremacy of local authorities over other partners, the utilitarian character of partnerships and the assumptions concerning their future. The hypotheses are then verified on the basis of the results of quantitative research of Local Action Groups in the Podkarpackie region.
Discounts and rebates in local taxation are a very media-friendly topic, yet the opinions on the stimulating function of taxation are not supported by meaningful research. The article presents the impact of local governments’ decisions regarding reductions in the tax on means of transport on the location of entities subject to such a tax within the community. The article has a multi-dimensional character, as it is impossible to limit oneself to researching a simplistic relation between tax rates and the number of registered payers of the tax. One must consider additional factors, e.g. the location of new tax payers within a community will also indirectly impact estate taxes, CIT revenues, even the additional revenues from the personal income tax paid by employees. Therefore, it is vital to approach the consequences of local government decisions relating to changes in transport taxation multi-dimensionally.
The aim of the article is to present an outline of the concept of revitalisation as a public intervention aimed at strengthening local cohesion. The concept emphasises the multi-faceted, participatory and inclusive nature of revitalisation. The article contains arguments in favour of the following theses: (1) Revitalisation should be not only an ad hoc reaction to the accumulation of crisis levels, but also a long-term action for local cohesion; (2) The long-term success of revitalisation depends on the scale and quality of the involvement of residents, especially residents from disadvantaged or excluded communities; (3) The inclusion of social economy entities in the revitalisation process is an important factor in strengthening local cohesion
This article analyzes the commitment of village residents to creating a village council fund. The research is based on 28 villages which have been adopting the fund in the past 4 years. The author describes the residents’ interest, or rather, the lack thereof, in the village matters and looks to answer why the residents of a given commune hardly execute their rights to take part in village meetings and decide about allocating resources from the village fund. The theoretical framework of the research is based on the rational choice theory and the theory of small groups by M. Olson.
Uptade from 2.03.2021: Parts of this article were subsequently used in the following publication: Swianiewicz, P., & Łukomska, J. (2016). Local tax competition in Poland?. Miscellanea Geographica, 20(3), 37-43
The paper considers the usefulness of the tax competition theory for the analysis of local tax policies in Poland. The concept has been successfully used for analyses conducted in several European countries, but it has not been systematically tested in Poland yet. There are two types of competition discussed in the paper: classic competition for mobile tax base and yardstick competition, in which local politicians compete for political capital related to a comparison of tax rates with neighbouring municipalities. Due to the limited size and types of local taxes in Poland, it is expected that yardstick competition is more important than classic competition for mobile tax base. The paper also examines regional variation in the intensity of local tax competition, and it formulates the hypothesis that it is more visible in regions with higher bridging social capital. Results of the conducted research indicate that the theory of local tax competition is a useful concept helping to explain the variation in tax policies among Polish municipalities.
The problem of centralization and decentralization is very interesting and important in management science, political science, sociology, political economy, economics and regional sciences. The discussion over the centralization versus decentralization is a never-ending one. It is an age-old battle of standardization versus autonomy, corporate efficiency versus local effectiveness and pressure on costs and resources versus accommodation of specific local needs. The advantages of each model are, in essence, the disadvantages of the other. Decisions to decentralize or centralize must be derived from a careful cost–benefit analysis. The debate over whether to centralize or decentralize is not so much over which type of strategy is more effective but the degree to which each strategy is used in combination with one another.
The aim of the paper is to analyze the processes of localization and globalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas in Wielkopolska. The author discusses the problem of rural economy as the place of localization of internationalized and globally active enterprises. First, she analyzes the potential factors of enterprises’ localization in the condition of open economy. Then, she focuses on shares of foreign capital and foreign exchange of enterprises operating in urban and non-urban environments and in agricultural and non-agricultural areas. The author analyzes the data reported in the years 2008?2011 by the Polish Statistical Office GUS concerning entities with foreign capital and firms with capital abroad. She shows that the pace and advancement of the globalization processes in the investigated enterprises differ according to the level of urbanization and the economic structure of different localizations. The results show that globalization leads to polarization of the development of regional and local economy.
After the fall of communism local communities in Poland stress the history of their own. This phenomenon is still going up, being a part of a larger rebirth of local communities’ life. Even small communities are building monuments of people with local or national merits, who lived in this place. The pope John Paul II (a pope from Polandl) is frequently remembered in this context. His monuments are built – especially when he visited a given town as a pope and/or had some contact with it when he lived in Poland.
This paper analyses the shifts in the system of governance of Kyiv in 2008–2014 as a crucial element of the resilience capacity of the region. The consequences of the economic crisis and the ongoing security crisis demand new approaches and solutions from the city’s leadership and community. For years Kyiv suffered from poor municipal leadership and unprecedented control by the central government, which undermined the resilience of its socio-economic system in the aftermath of the global economic crisis. However, new forms of community initiatives that bring together private and non-governmental actors are becoming widespread, and are becoming critical knowledge networks that are essential for successful long-term development. Changing institutional frameworks, and the firm commitment to decentralisation proclaimed by the country’s current leadership, open new avenues for harnessing the city’s potential. The challenge is in finding ways for constructive collaboration between formal and informal leaders of the city while building a new base for sustainable and competitive economic growth.
The article focuses on the beliefs of the regional political elites in Poland about the models of democracy, operationalised as opinions about political representation, direct democracy and elite integration. The empirical basis is a questionnaire survey of 400 members of regional political elites carried out in 2017. The sample consists of 400 councillors of the 2014-2018 term of regional (voivodship) assemblies and town councils of big cities. The data show that an incoherence of views characterises the regional political elite: they do not form a more general vision of the democratic process, and detailed opinions on representation, direct democracy and elite integration poorly correlate with independent variables, including those describing political affiliations, i.e. party affinity or location on the left-right scale. The primary explanation for this incoherent image is the thesis about the lack of professionalisation of the regional elite.
The article describes a local conflict which arose when the decision on the establishment of the Brzeziny district (powiat) had been waived at the last moment. This resulted in strong protests of the inhabitants, who hoped that the district authorities would be located in Brzeziny. The conflict impaired the local community`s ability to exercise its political function and to execute public tasks. Two opposed groups emerged in the local community: representatives of the local authority and people connected with them on the one hand, and the protest committee, later the Teraz Brzeziny (Time for Brzeziny) association, on the other. The consequence of this local conflict, taken as a model, is mutual adaptation of both opposing sides. In Brzeziny, the adaptation took the form of a compromise negotiations between the government authorities and local community`s representatives, which brought a solution to the problem. As a result of the compromise, the Brzeziny district has been established, however not within the originally planned boundaries.
The concept of the political cycle was originally formulated with regard to decisions taken at the central level, but it may be also applied to the local level. Most of the previous empirical studies have focused on expenditure (how its size and structure change depending on the electoral cycle). The applicability of the concept to local tax policy has also been studied, although more rarely. In Polish studies of local public finance, the concept of political cycle has so far been rarely used. In this article, the authors check whether the theoretical frame of the political cycle is suitable for interpreting decisions relating to tariffs on local public services. It is empirically tested on tariffs on water and sewage, rents in municipal housing, tickets for local public transport and parking charges. The second research question concerns factors influencing the likelihood of the political cycle in different services. In this respect, the article puts forward four specific hypotheses. The authors have to face a methodological problem: the distinction between the influence of the electoral cycle and of other factors, such as inflation, or the change in the financial situation of local governments, and economic growth rate. The applied quantitative methods refer to panel logistic regression and linear regression models in which the impact of the electoral year is controlled by other variables.
The article concentrates on vehicle tax, which is interesting not only due to its efficiency, but also high mobility of the tax base. The study aims to examine the correlation between fiscal results and municipal policies, from the perspective of such criteria as the type of municipality and taxpayer category. The study is based on correlation analysis, in which Pearson’s independence test and Spearman’s rho coefficient are used. The results confirm that the tested correlations do exist. Municipal tax policy influences tax revenues of the studied tax, though the results in each unit are different between the current and later periods. Moreover, in the case of vehicle tax, municipal authorities’ main action was to lower the upper tax rates. For municipalities in which these relations were the most visible, econometric models were built. These illustrate the effects of tax policy in relation to certain taxpayer categories.
The Act of 11 January 2018 amending certain acts in order to increase participation of citizens in the process of selecting, functioning and controlling certain public bodies (Journal of Laws 2018, item 130) obliged all local government units to establish a citizens’ resolution initiative and to regulate the basic procedures related to the preparation and submission of applications by a resolution of their law-making body. The article analyses the implementation activities undertaken in cities with county rights. It indicates that before the entry into force of the Act, 55 cities out of 66 had already implemented such an arrangement, and, in their case, the Act helped unify the procedures. The article also points out that some cities did not implement these regulations before the beginning of the 8th term of office of local governments, and in several cases there were problems with the implementation, which prevented citizens from exercising their resolution initiative. The article presents the legal status as of 31 December 2019.
Rock mining is popular and characterized by the exploitation of local deposits, which are used as a bargaining chip in local economic and socio-political politics. The aim of the paper is to analyze the impact of rock mining on the local economy of Polish communes. A contextual analysis was performed of inflows to the communes’ budgets resulting from the exploitation of rock minerals, the contribution of rock mining in the creation of local jobs was assessed, and the benefits from reclamation and development of post-mining areas were estimated. To do all that, the Author used the method of indicator analysis of local government units and stochastic methods of data analysis, as well as inference based on collected data. Studies have shown that rock mining is a factor supporting the local economy. Benefits from the exploitation of rock minerals should be taken into consideration in the development of plans concerning mineral rock deposits.