Chapter 5 Distribution of powers in federal systems: federalism's heart
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The distribution of legislative, executive, and judicial powers is a necessary feature of federal systems. Criteria for distributing powers include scope, status, economy of scale, cost-benefit internalization, administrative costs, subsidiarity, democracy, and social justice. Powers are ordinarily distributed through a written constitution. Constitution writers must decide which powers to list, in what detail, for which orders of government and also whether to distribute powers symmetrically or asymmetrically. Powers can be exclusive to one order of government, concurrent, shared, and residual. Dual and integrated federations distribute powers differently, with the latter assigning most legislative powers to the federation government and most executive powers to the constituent governments. Judicial powers are often distributed differently than legislative and executive powers. The powers to spend, tax, and borrow require distribution as well. One issue is whether to distribute fiscal powers in ways that suppress or allow competition among constituent governments.

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