Federalism- Chapter 14 16/12/2012 10:11:00 AM
A. Multilevel governance = applies to the idea of pluralism and policy
networks to the relationships between tiers of government. It emerges
when practitioners from several levels of government share the task of
making regulations and forming policy, usually in conjunction with
relevant interest groups.
1. Pluralism = or rule by many, is a model of politics in which
influence is shared amoung multiple interests and organizations,
rather than concentrated on a single sovereign entity. In a
pluralistic poetical system, the government acts primary as an
umpire arbitrating between numerous independent interests. Rather
than being imposed by the state, the common interest is taken to
be emerging from this open competition between particular groups.
2. Policy networks/issue network: is a concept used to denote the
extensive range of loosely connected actors in making policy in
specialized policy sectors with contemporary liberal democracies.
The principle of sharing sovereignty (and not just power) between
central and state (or provincial) governments.
1. Federal as opposed to a unitary state
a) Unitary state = a state in which “sovereignty lies exclusively with the
In practice, unitary states often disperse power
Deconcentration: central government functions are executed by
staff in the field.
Decentralization: central government functions are executed by
Devolution: central government grants some decision- making
autonomy to lower levels.
2. In theory, and often in practice, unitary states retain the right to their
power (they can abolish the lower governments they created.)
3. Federal as opposed to a confederation
Confederation = a confederation is a weak link between participating
countries, in which the members retain their separate statehood.
Confederations fall between two stools, lacking both the flexibility of a
traditional alliance and the binding character of a federation. Examples: short lived system adopted by United States.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of federalism?
A practical arrangement for large countries
Provides checks and balances
Allows for the recognition of diversity
Reduces overload at the centre
Provides competition between provinces and allows citizens to move
Offers opportunities for policy experiments
Allows small units to cooperate in achieving the economic and
military advantages of size
Brings government closer to the people.
o May be less effective in responding got security threats
o Decision making is slow and complicated;’ trouble, expense and
o Can entrench divisions between provinces
o The centre experiences greater difficulty in launching national
o How citizens are treated depends in where they live
o Complicates accountability: who is responsible?
o May permit majorities within a province to exploit a minority
o Basing representation in the upper chamber on states violates the
principle of one person, one vote.
Division of Powers and Balance of