Mandatory innovation in a decentralised system: The adoption of an e-government innovation in Dutch municipalities

Wouter Jans, Bas Denters, Ariana Need, Minna van Gerven

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Local governments, especially in decentralised states, are increasingly performing tasks previously the responsibility of national government as well as new tasks. This research studies the conditions affecting the adoption of a mandated e-government innovation - 'Basic Registration Addresses and Buildings' (BAG), in Dutch municipalities (N=429) between 2008 and 2011. In contradiction to what theory suggested, a great deal of variation in the timing of adoption was found. The results of Event History Analysis (EHA) show that early adoption of BAG was primarily the result of a municipality's command over resources. More resourceful municipalities, that is, with better past e-government performance, that are better informed, and included in more extensive policy networks were more likely to adopt this innovation relatively early. Of the motivational factors included in our study, the degree of political alignment between the municipal council and national government proved an important factor in the timing of a municipality's adoption. This is a surprising finding, as it is an uncontroversial and technical governance innovation. This research also shows that classical diffusion explanations play a role, even in the case of a mandated innovation for which the time frame, and thus the time to learn from other governments, was relatively short.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36–60
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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