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Comparative Politics 2300

by: Jillian Marks

Comparative Politics 2300 POLC2300-06

Marketplace > Tulane University > Political Science > POLC2300-06 > Comparative Politics 2300
Jillian Marks

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These notes cover federalism and decentralization
Comparative Politics
Oliveros, Virginia
Class Notes
Comparative Politics
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jillian Marks on Sunday April 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLC2300-06 at Tulane University taught by Oliveros, Virginia in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views. For similar materials see Comparative Politics in Political Science at Tulane University.

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Date Created: 04/10/16
Comparative Politics Federalism and Decentralization I. Federalism A. Federal vs. Unitary 1. Federal state – constitution gives two or more governments overlapping political authority over same group of people and territory  Ex: Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Russia, U.S (among largest countries)  U.S. most decentralized federal country in world - Strong federation - States have considerable policymaking power (ex. Same-sex marriage) - India = weaker federation, PM can takeover state rule 2. Unitary state – constitution gives central government final and exclusive control over policymaking across entire national territory  Devolution – can give subnational units power but can take back that power whenever they want B. Where do Federal Systems come from? 1. “coming together” federalism - countries combine and form an alliance to benefit from stronger security and a stronger economy  ex. Australia, Switzerland, U.S. 2. “holding together” federalism - a solution to preserve a diverse country by giving some power to subnational units  ex. Belgium, India, Spain 3. “putting together” federalism – coercive effort to put together a multinational state  ex. Soviet Union C. Types of federal states 1. Population  Congruent – demographic makeup of subnational units is similar - Ex. U.S.  Incongruent – demographic makeup of subnational units differs - Ex. Canada 2. Power  Symmetric – subnational units have equal powers relative to central government - Ex. U.S., Brazil, Argentina, Australia  Asymmetric – some subnational units have more power than others - Ex. Belgium, Canada 3. Demos-constraining – institutions that limit power of people - Usually federal - Strong supreme court, senate 4. Demos-enabling – institutions enable power of people - Generally more centralized, unitary D. Case for federalism 1. Better match between policy and citizen preferences  Residential sorting – over time people tend to live in states where they agree with the policies 2. Brings government “closer to the people”  more accountable to citizens in subnational elections 3. competition among states for citizens and investment creates incentive for good policy/government 4. protection against tyrant through increased checks and balances 5. can promote stability in a country with multiple ethnic, religious, political identities E. Case against federalism 1. Unnecessary duplication and contradictory policies  Resources being wasted  States have different policies – ex. Same-sex marriage, abortion, marijuana 2. Additional layers of government make it difficult for voters to know who to hold accountable 3. May put minorities at disadvantage in some states 4. Competition between states may lead to “race to the bottom”  Kansas City border war II. Decentralization 1. Refers to extent to which actual policymaking power lies with central or regional governments A. Case for decentralization 1. Helps to deepen and consolidate democracy by devolving power to local governments 2. Disperses political power 3. Improves resource allocation because local governments have better knowledge of local preferences  improves efficiency B. Case against decentralization 1. Might increase inequalities 2. Increases size of government 3. Impedes fiscal restraint 4. Could increase corruption because there are more transfers of money


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