Urban regime theory in comparative perspective

G. Stoker, K. Mossberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

290 Citations (Scopus)


The urban literature has devoted increasing attention to cross-national comparison of urban change and governance. What is lacking is the development of conceptual frameworks that are adequate to embrace the greater variation in conditions encountered in cross-national research, compared with conditions within a single country. Urban regime theory holds potential for explaining the variety of arrangements through which policymakers in cities have coped with change. Its essential contribution is to focus attention on the collective action problems that have to be overcome for effective urban governance to emerge. The nature of the collective action challenge varies according to the purpose, composition, and position of potential regime partners. Substantial differences in motivating factors must be taken into account in order to apply regime analysis cross-nationally. Drawing upon differences already identified in the regime literature, the authors propose a typology of organic, instrumental, and symbolic regimes. -Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-212
Number of pages18
JournalEnvironment & Planning C: Government & Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


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