This chapter deals with shared rule, the other key aspect of federalism next to self-rule. Shared rule has received much less academic attention than self-rule. Shared rule is defined as the ability of regional governments to influence state-wide decisions. It is therefore conceptually different from shared rule understood as centralization or horizontal cooperation, although regions might indeed cooperate with each other when using shared rule to combat further centralization. Shared rule can vary in both form and extent. The main argument advanced in this chapter is that the key to federal success – securing stability, protecting individual liberty and producing collective prosperity – lies in finding the appropriate balance between self-rule and shared rule. Empirically, the Regional Authority Index is presented and critically discussed before an agenda for future research is briefly outlined.
Federalism has been used increasingly as a tool of conflict resolution in states that have faced violence between different groups. Countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Iraq and Nepal have introduced federalism in order to hold divided societies together. Yet, while there is a growing body of literature on the use of federalism in post-conflict societies, overall, the empirical evidence on the usefulness of federalism as a tool to overcome violence and lay the foundations for democracy remains mixed. In some countries, such as Bosnia and Nepal, federalism has contributed to the end of violence. However, in countries such as Iraq, and Sudan (after 2005), the introduction of a federal system has been linked with ongoing instability and further calls for secession. This chapter looks at the factors that make federalism work, and outlines a future research agenda on the use of federalism as a tool of conflict resolution.
Why is socially and culturally diverse Asia still overwhelmingly unfederal? This chapter seeks to answer the question by identifying the factors responsible for the adoption of federalism in some countries as well as its rejection in others, with particular reference to existing research and the practices of federalism in India, Pakistan and Malaysia. The central argument is that the federal discourse in Asia is to be conjoined to democracy discourse in order to assess the democratic effect of federalism, which is an important key to federal success. On the basis of a conceptual distinction between diversity-claims and equality-claims, it is emphasized that federalism in Asia needs to strike a balance between its concern for management of diversity and for the production of some equity in the social and economic realms. Appropriateness of federal designs often in combination with others for power sharing is suggested for areas of exploration.
This chapter conveys three related lessons from recent federalism research. First, federalism’s authority boundaries affect the federation’s performance, shaping its capacity to bring security, prosperity and well-being, and justice to a society. Second, boundaries are contested, and multiple safeguards – judicial, extrajudicial and the governments themselves –maintain the boundaries of authority. Third, this chapter examines theories of boundary dynamics. Intentional constitutional revision is not the only way authority boundaries change, and it may not even be the most important way. Evolutionary processes may move the boundaries first, and constitutions may or may not be revised to recognize the new form of federalism in practice. The lessons about authority boundaries are relevant across federal systems.
This chapter explores the development of the gender-federalism field focused on interactions between ‘federal arrangements’ and gender regimes. Initially the field focused on the question: ‘is federalism good or bad for women?’ It highlighted obstacles to women’s attainment of equal rights and full citizenship created by ‘federal arrangements’ blocking such changes as family-law reforms. More recently, gender-federalism scholars conceptualized such interactions as a ‘two-way street’ on which ‘federal arrangements’ affect women’s political activism but that women’s increased activism since the 1960s also began to change federal politics, discourses and institutions. Initiated by feminist political scientists in older ‘Western’ federations, the field now includes researchers in federations in the global south who explore issues focused on how interactions between ‘federalization’ and ‘democratization’ affect women’s political organizing, participation and representation. Following a brief historical overview, the chapter outlines areas of gendered inquiry that are common to federations and to formerly unitary states undergoing the devolution of power and ‘federalization’ including Belgium, Spain and the UK. It also identifies the field’s key issues and theories as well as new questions such as why women’s legislative representation is significantly higher in federations than in unitary states and in regional governments despite the rarity of regional, electoral quotas. The chapter concludes with a brief speculation about the field’s future and how its insights can be made more widely available to gender scholars and scholars of federalism.
Political and Commercial Catalysts
James Henderson and Arild Moe
The focus on non-centralism includes proclaimed federations, countries with some federal arrangements, and local governments with some autonomy. Given the enormity of peace, governance and development challenges facing many African countries, research on the role that non-centralism can play in addressing these challenges is vital, and should pursue the following agenda: first, because unitary states often engendered ethnic-based conflicts, their functionality should be examined. Second, has federalism been able to resolve these conflicts and hold countries together by accommodating minority groups? Third, could other forms of territorial accommodation of ethnic groups provide peace dividends, such as autonomy arrangements and secession? Fourth, could autonomous local government facilitate a more democratic and developmental state? Fifth, what causes the gap between non-centralist policies and laws, on one hand, and practice on the other, including the role of the political traditions of centralism, the patrimonial state, and the absence of constitutionalism?
The chapter looks at the peregrinations of fiscal-federalism studies across time, geography and disciplines, portraying the mainstream literature on the topic from past to present debates. In so doing it addresses the most intriguing issues and the emerging trends the research agenda has to cope with. The basic assumption is that the progresses of the literature reflect the advancements from a formal and minimalistic understanding of fiscal federalism to a more substantial, practice-oriented and interdisciplinary approach. As such, an expanded and comparative insight into the phenomenon and its causes brings about the need to face new challenges that put a strain on fiscal-federalism studies and entail new advances in the research agenda.