Published: November 2018

This article proposes a framework for studying the territorial political capacity of regions in Europe. The proposed framework identifies three main dimensions of territorial political capacity. Mainly material indicators include institutions and institutional resources. Mixed material and constructed indicators centre on causal mechanisms of party and leadership capacity. Mainly constructed indicators are drawn from territorial praxis. Understanding a region requires combining different levels of analysis and distinctive ways of knowing; broad-based (quasi-statistical) variables facilitate comparison, while the focus on resilience and capacity requires primary data collection, drilling down into the practices of comparable panels of actors. This article discusses this framework in relation to four European regions that were the object of empirical investigation in 2012–2014: namely Brittany (France), Andalusia (Spain), Wallonia (Belgium) and Wales (United Kingdom). It contributes to the conceptualization of comparative territorial capacity, in a manner distinct from, but largely consistent with the Regional Authority Index.

Devolution, regions, Europe, capacity, comparison, decentralisation