Erk J and Koning E (2009).
New structuralism and institutional change: federalism between centralization and
Comparative Political Studies (March).
This article aims to contribute to the debate on institutional change by introducing
social structure as the basis for theorizing about the direction of such change.
The empirical context is the long-term trends of federal institutional change in
the federations of the industrialized West (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada,
Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States). It is the authors’ contention
that institutions change in order to reach a better fit with the underlying linguistic
structure. The direction for institutional change in federal systems with territorially
based linguistic heterogeneity is decentralizing, for homogeneous ones the direction
is centralizing. The argument is based on the growing importance of language as
the provider of democratic space. It is through the less formalized interest group
politics that the underlying linguistic base finds its way into influencing the
direction of institutional change.
Bi-monthly magazine of the Forum of Federations, highlighting what’s new in federalism
Link to HTML
Fleiner T (2008). Dynamics of Federalism: a comparative analyses of recent developments
of federations and of the countries in transition to federalism.
Paper presented at The Future of Federalism (International Conference): Brisbane,
Publius: The Journal of Federalism
Regular thematic issues, include:
Federalism and Health Policy 39(1) 2009
Federalism and Constitutional Change – Forthcoming 39(2) 2009.
Caron J-F, Laforest G (2009) Canada and multinational federalism: from the spirit
of 1982 to Stephen Harper's open federalism
Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 15 (1): 27-55.
Since the end of the Second World War, principles of diversity and multiculturalism
have increasingly been codified in international law. The present article takes
a closer look at the evolution of Canada's attitude towards the recognition of its
multinational character over the past 25 years. The article shows that the more
recent idea of “open federalism” put forward by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's
government as a recognition of multinationalism closely resembles the monist idea
of the state that was promoted by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Thus,
contrary to what is being portrayed in political discourses, nothing much has changed
over the last 25 years. Stephen Harper's “open federalism” remains largely inspired
by philosophical elements of monism and does not contribute to making Canada a truly
Erk J (2006) "Uncodified
workings and unworkable codes": Canadian federalism and public policy.
Comparative Political Studies, 39: 441 - 462.
The discrepancy between the written constitution and the day-to-day workings of
the Canadian federal system is noted by a number of observers. However, there is
yet no general theory that seeks to explain why de jure constitution and de facto
practice diverge from one another. This article proposes an explanation based on
the ethnolinguistic social structure. The workings of the federal system are best
observed in the field of public policy where the constituent linguistic/cultural
communities of Canada function as default demoi, bypassing the formal structures
of the federation. This process is particularly visible in education and media where
identity politics find their first outlet. As a result, in the absence of formal
recognition, the duality of the Canadian society tends to reveal itself through
the workings of the system.
Fafard P, Rocher F (2009), The evolution of federalism studies in Canada: from centre
Canadian Public Administration 52 (2): 291-311.
Over the past decade, there have been a number of studies that seek to evaluate
the state of federalism studies in Canada. The general conclusion seems to be that,
while federalism continues to be an important part of the scholarly literature,
there is a decline in the study of the traditional areas of federalism …In this
article, the authors combine a large quantitative assessment of relevant publications
dealing with Canadian federalism with a brief qualitative assessment of the state
of the federal studies from researchers active in the field.
Prince MJ (2006). A cancer control strategy and deliberative federalism: modernizing
health care and democratizing intergovernmental relations.
Canadian Public Administration 49 (4): 468-485
This article describes the nature of, and the need for, a national strategy on cancer
control. It then considers the implications of such a strategy for the working models
of Canadian federalism. The ideas, structure, and process of developing the Canadian
Strategy for Cancer Control involves a new model for the conduct of intergovernmental
and inter-sectoral relations, an approach we can call deliberative federalism. In
this model, interest groups, professional associations, and other social actors
are part of the modern state alongside cabinet parliamentary government and federalism.
As a multiple partnership arrangement, the Strategy is a platform for communication
between governments, non-governmental agencies, health professionals, and cancer
survivors and families. Adopting a strategy for cancer control is thus an opportunity
to modernize the management of chronic diseases and to further democratize the conduct
of intergovernmental relations.
Johns CM, O’Reilly PL, Inwood GJ (2007). Formal and informal dimensions of intergovernmental
administrative relations in Canada.
Canadian Public Administration 50 (1): 21-41
The past two decades have witnessed significant changes in Canadian federalism and
intergovernmental relations. This article investigates how developments in federalism
and public administration in the 1990s have affected intergovernmental administrative
machinery and the formal and informal structures, functions, and resources of intergovernmental
relations compared to findings from the 1980s. Using a survey, interviews with senior
intergovernmental officials, and government documents, this paper examines the evolution
of the intergovernmental administrative state as opposed to the political realm
of executive federalism. The authors outline how the formal structures and functions
of intergovernmental agencies and officials have evolved and argue that informal
intergovernmental networks are very important in understanding and explaining the
capacity of the federation to meet current and future policy and administrative
Wood D, Klassen T (2009), Bilateral federalism and workforce development policy
Canadian Public Administration 52 (2): 249-270
In the past decade, federal and provincial governments in Canada have made major
modifications in the governance of workforce development policy, an area critical
to economic prosperity. Governance shifts have been accomplished primarily through
devolution from the federal government to the provinces (including the transfer
of federal staff) via a variety of bilateral agreements. This article analyses the
performance of the intergovernmental relations system in workforce development policy
in Canada since 1996. While there has been remarkable success in producing results
in the form of agreements, and workability on a bilateral basis has improved - thereby
reducing federal-provincial tensions - this has not been accompanied by improved
workability on a multilateral basis. In addition, the changes to the system introduced
by devolution have not always been consistent with federal principles. The article
concludes that, without a more robust multilateral inter-governmental process to
bridge the two orders of government, workforce development policy in Canada will
Chemerinsky E (2008) Enhancing
Government: Federalism for the 21st Century.
Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
From the book blurb:
Federalism has been a divisive issue throughout American history. Conservatives
argued in support of federalism and states' rights to oppose the end of slavery,
the New Deal, and desegregation. In the 1990s, the Supreme Court used federalism
to strike down numerous laws of public good, including federal statutes requiring
the clean up of nuclear waste and background checks for gun ownership. Now the Court
appears poised to use federalism and states' rights to limit federal power even
In this book, Erwin Chemerinsky argues for a different vision: federalism as empowerment.
He analyses and criticises the Supreme Court's recent conservative trend, and lays
out his own challenge to the Court to approach their decisions with the aim of advancing
liberty and enhancing effective governance. While the traditional approach has been
about limiting federal power, an alternative conception would empower every level
of government to deal with social problems. In Chemerinsky's view, federal power
should address national problems like environmental protection and violations of
civil rights, while state power can be strengthened in areas such as consumer privacy
and employee protection.
Conlan T (2006), From cooperative to opportunistic federalism: reflections on the
half-century anniversary of the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.
Public Administration Review 66 (5): 663-676
In 1955, the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations — the Kestnbaum Commission
— embellished the intellectual framework of cooperative federalism and laid out
a policy agenda for promoting it. Since then, our intergovernmental system has evolved
from a predominantly cooperative federal–state–local system to one characterized
by corrosive opportunistic behavior, greater policy prescriptiveness, eroding institutional
capacity for intergovernmental analysis, and shifting paradigms of public management.
These trends threaten to undermine effective intergovernmental relations and management.
Recent developments, however, offer some promise for building new institutions of
intergovernmental analysis, more effective paradigms of intergovernmental public
management, and greater horizontal cooperation.
Kincaid J (1990). From
cooperative to coercive federalism.
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 509, American
Federalism: The Third Century, pp. 139-152
Cooperative federalism, the reigning conception of American federalism from about
1954 to 1978, was a political response to the policy challenges of market failure,
postwar affluence, racism, urban poverty, environmentalism, and individual rights.
Having social equity as its primary objective, cooperative federalism significantly
transformed American society, but when the conditions underlying cooperation changed
during the 1970s, the pressure to expand national power inherent in cooperative
federalism gave rise to coercive federalism, in which the federal government reduced
its reliance on fiscal tools to stimulate intergovernmental policy cooperation and
increased its reliance on regulatory tools to ensure the supremacy of federal policy.
The erosion of federal fiscal power and of constitutional and political limits on
federal regulatory power in the 1970s and 1980s has produced a more coercive system
of federal preemptions of state and local authority and unfunded mandates on state
and local governments. This system undermines governmental responsibility and public
accountability; yet state and local governments may not possess sufficient constitutional
or political leverage to alter the system. Thus cooperative federalism has not been
replaced by a new consensus on federalism. In light of contemporary conditions,
a new consensus may have to be forged from elements of cooperative equity, competitive
efficiency, and dual accountability.
Landy M (2008), Mega-disasters and federalism.
Public Administration Review 68(s1): S186-S198.
Measured in dollar terms, Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster in American
history. Mega-disaster response recovery and mitigation put federalism to an especially
difficult test because they require speed, efficiency, decisiveness, and effective
coordination. This essay focuses on the response to and recovery from Katrina in
order to probe the implications of mega-disasters for federalism. It understands
federalism as being composed of four dimensions: the three levels of government
and the civic realm. It tests key defences of federalism against civic and government
performance during Katrina. It offers examples of successes and failures involving
all four dimensions and provides specific recommendations for improving mega-disaster
mitigation, response, and recovery while maintaining an appropriate constitutional
balance among the three levels of government and between the civilian government
and the military.
Posner P (2007). The Politics
of Coercive Federalism in the Bush Era.
Publius, 37: 390 - 412.
During the period of the Bush Presidency, the federal government proceeded to centralize
and nationalize policy in major areas formerly controlled by states and localities.
The extension of federal goals and standards to such areas as education testing,
sales tax collection, emergency management, infrastructure, and elections administration
were among the areas of significant mandates and preemptions. The continuation of
policy centralization in areas under a conservative and unified political regime
shows how strong and deep the roots are for centralizing policy actions in our intergovernmental
Bolleyer N (2006), Consociationalism and intergovernmental relations: linking internal
and external power-sharing in the Swiss federal polity.
Swiss Political Science Review 12 (3): 1-34
For several decades, comparative politics has treated the Swiss political system
as the prime example of a power-sharing polity in which consociationalism and cooperative
intergovernmental relations co-exist in a mutually reinforcing manner... In order
to substantiate how intra-governmental power-sharing facilitates intergovernmental
cooperation, this paper proposes a rational choice approach specifying different
mechanisms driving actors' choices in favour of or against strong intergovernmental
These mechanisms are examined empirically, first, by systematically assessing the
organization of Swiss intergovernmental relations and second, by identifying the
motives of Swiss intergovernmental actors to establish the given structures on the
basis of in-depths interviews...
Freitag Markus, Schlicht R (2009). Educational federalism in Germany: foundations
of social inequality in education.
Governance 22 (1): 47-72
This article applies Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to examine how sub-national
education systems affect the extent of social inequality in education within the
German federal states. Variations in educational outcomes between the federal states
can be primarily attributed to the strict educational decentralization in Germany.
We examine four conditions of regional education systems presumed to be relevant
for the extent of social inequality in education: the availability of early childhood
education, the development of all-day schools, the onset of tracking to different
school types, and the degree of tripartition in secondary education…
Thurner PW, Binder M (2009), European Union transgovernmental networks: the emergence
of a new political space beyond the nation-state?
European Journal of Political Research 48 (1): 80-106
Does the European Union (EU) represent a new political order replacing the old nation-states?...
Transgovernmental networks have been considered to be one of the most important
features of EU integration. Unfortunately, the network structures, processes and
the impact of these informal horizontal inter-organisational relations between nation-states
are mostly unknown. The main objective of this article is to measure and explain
the selective pattern of informal bilateral relations of high officials of the EU
Member States' ministerial bureaucracies on the occasion of an EU Intergovernmental
He L (2008), Has fiscal federalism worked for macroeconomic purposes? the Chinese
China & World Economy 16 (1): 17-33.
China's central government undertook major tax regime reform in 1994 that was characterized
by fiscal federalism. In hindsight, this reform might be viewed as being more emphatic
towards the revenue side than the expenditure side. The reform has resulted in certain
success both for revenue shifting and inflation fighting purposes. However, the
reform and its subsequent follow-ups have not addressed some fundamental issues
pertaining to China's government finance system, such as the overhauling of the
function of government finance and redrawing lines between the central and regional
governments with regard to their fiscal responsibilities and duties. Moreover, fiscal
federalism might have actually increased fiscal burden on the economy, especially
on domestic sectors of the economy. However, coupled with enhanced policy support
for China's external development, fiscal federalism might have helped to further
accelerate resource shifts toward the external sector, thus resulting in an unprecedented
rapid expansion in China's exports since the mid-1990s.
Mushkat M, Mushkat R (2009), The political economy of Chinese “federalism”: new
Global Economic Review 38 (1): 13-28.
Decentralized politico-administrative structures may be dissected and assessed by
employing a variety of conceptual tools. In the case of China, researchers have
displayed a distinct preference for operating within a framework grounded in political
sociology. Substantial insights have been generated in the process, but it may be
argued, and empirically demonstrated, that a complementary approach, seeking inspiration
from political economy, may shed additional light on the functioning of the Chinese
Amusa H, Methane P (2007), South Africa's Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations: An
South African Journal of Economics 75 (2): 265-292
Across Africa, Latin America, Asia and the transition economies of Eastern Europe,
the need to enhance the capability and capacity of sub-national governments (SNGs)
in providing public goods and services has become a main theme of development programmes.
Central to this theme is the need to design an intergovernmental fiscal relations
(IGFR) system that enhances the effectiveness of sub-national governments in mobilizing
revenues and implementing expenditure programmes. For South Africa, the post-1994
dispensation has involved significant reforms to the structure and administrative
capacity of the three spheres of government. Critical to these reforms is the need
to formulate an IGFR framework that takes cognisance of South Africa's past, and
serves as an effective policy tool in ensuring that public sector service delivery
is well structured and managed.
This paper provides an analysis of South Africa's evolving IGFR system. It outlines
the historical evolution of the current IGFR system, identifies current challenges,
and discusses implications that these challenges have for the functioning of the