Almost three decades ago, Jens Hesse and Jim Sharpe (1991) observed that in the first years of political transformation, decentralisation was often referred to as one of the recipes for increasing the efficiency of the public sector in most countries. Due to historical experience, it was often possible to see the ‘automatic’ identification of centralisation with authoritarianism. Consequently, decentralisation was almost equated with democratisation. The observation cited here in its original formulation referred to Greece, Spain and Portugal, which had (at the time the quoted study was written) relatively recently got rid of authoritarian regimes.