The paper offers a review of the recent processes of structural reform of subnational government in France, Spain and Denmark. Shrinking the number of levels of government and of the number of units at each level was the main aim of those processes. The paper analyzes motivation and results, focusing on political and institutional constraints with a special emphasis on the impact of electoral systems. Spain and France show similarities with Italy concerning the structure of decentralized government and ambitions of reform. Denmark represents a very interesting case combining a pure proportional system of representation with a corporatist decision-making process. This combination requires a global and negotiated approach to intergovernmental reform, also. France and Spain seem to have operated within a shorter time frame that privileges immediate results. Contrary to Denmark established layers of government in both France and Spain, such as the municipalities and the provinces, seem to have been almost immune to reform.
Keywords: Intergovernmental financial relationship, reform, optimal size
Jel Code: D72, H70, H77