Sources of Institutional Integrity and Contradictions of County Governance: Analyzing the Estonian Experience



The article focuses on the analysis of internal dynamics and controversies of patterns of county-level governance. Seven alternating confi gurations of county governance in Estonia are taken as an empirical case. We also intend to develop further a conceptual framework for analysis of county governance, drawing on the experience of developing county governance in Europe in the last decades. We reveal that dual and fused patterns of county governance have rather different roles in balancing intergovernmental relations. Hence, when combining dual pattern with elements of fused pattern, it should be done very carefully in order to avoid deep tensions in the intergovernmental system. This was ignored in Estonia where, in the 1920s and the beginning of the 1990s, a strong political mandate of county governor and its role as representative of the state were combined. In the 1930s the crisis of county governance was solved with a perfectly balanced fused pattern, established by an authoritarian regime. In the 2000s, Estonia faced a political as well as a structural deadlock in the development of the intergovernmental system because of the deconstruction of county governance. As a result, the crisis in one link would require a complete reorganization of central- local relations in Estonia in the second half of the 2010s.


county governance, county governor, prefect, fused pattern, dual and split hierarchy, patterns of intergovernmental relations

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.
Creative Commons License
Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences by TRAS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Online ISSN: 2247-8310 | Print ISSN: 1842-2845 |  © AMP

The opinions expressed in the texts published are the author’s own and do not necessarily express the views of TRAS editors. The authors assume all responsibility for the ideas expressed in the materials published.