Federalism as Compared to What? Sorting Out the Effects of Federalism, Unitary Systems, and Decentralization
28 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 17, 2017
Federalism as compared to what? Most American students of federalism rarely compare federal systems to others, and thus lack the ability to say anything meaningful about federalism’s effect on economics, social policies, civic participation, and public welfare. We argue that many of the supposed virtues of federalism are actually the result of decentralization, that unitarism is generally associated with better economic and social outcomes, and that scholars must distinguish between the economic concept of “fiscal federalism” and constitutional federalism. We cite a number of comparative studies from political science, and leverage their data to support our contentions.
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