Be they individuals or collectivities, two or more players often find it more advantageous to cooperate such that almost all the concerned participants prefer mutual gains through cooperation rather than mutual ruins through conflict or even war. Sinc ...
Be they individuals or collectivities, two or more players often find it more advantageous to cooperate such that almost all the concerned participants prefer mutual gains through cooperation rather than mutual ruins through conflict or even war. Since early on, a shared federative sovereignty has been developed as a counter-discourse on the better known absolute state sovereignty in Europe. Federative arrangements, then, intend to take advantage of both big government and small government at the same time. Federalism as ideology to promote associations among interdependent groups explores to institutionalize shared rule and self-rule in balance. Moreover, federal institutions provide constituents with routes to resolve conflict, protect minorities and their rights from encroachment, furnish a forum to represent regional or territorial interests, and/or offer opportunities to experiment policy innovation on a local level. Yet democratic governance is not exclusively limited to federative arrangements; other systems of governance may actually excel. Furthermore, the fundamental tension lies in a natural tendency of federalism either to get excessively centralized or too decentralized, thus contradicting ideals pursued in democracy. Why federalism is often preferred to other types of governance, then, is not because of its inherent superiority but because of its potentials to prevent or undo such dysfunctions through meticulously devised mechanisms.
Thus federalism each country and regime with its own specific historical, institutional and circumstantial factors encounters its ever-changing political, economic and social landscapes over time, which requires a specific adjustment in its fiscal management, institutional rearrangement and even constitutional revision. Especially since federalism provides not only solutions to specific problems but also perspectives to problems of governance, discreet outcomes of federalism are readily available across different countries and times, and even among different administrations/cabinets in the same country. Despite such individual idiosyncrasy, federalism can be defined as "a covenant to carry out what was compromised for the sake of creating a new locus among political constituents." Accordingly all federative arrangements are commonly in pursuit of multi-level governance in which interstate, intrastate, and inter-community relations are coordinated in the most effective and democratic manner.
In this paper, I explore how 7 advanced federal states, Austria, Australia, Canada, Germany, United States, Belgium, and Switzerland, institutionalize these various forms of intergovernmental relations and put them into practice by emphasizing several key factors. This paper is also an attempt to establish typology regarding federalism as multi-level governance, thus contributing to the study of comparative federalism.