Australia

The Federalization of Trade Policy

The Federalization of Trade Policy

Abstract

Sub-federal units increasingly engage in international trade politics, a policy domain that is an exclusive jurisdiction of the federal level in most federations. This article conceptualizes this process as an instance of federalization, that means a shift from a mode of governance in a policy domain previously dominated by the federal level towards a mode where both tiers are simultaneously active. While the federalization of trade policy seems to be a more general trend across federal systems, the patterns of sub-federal participation and, eventually, the power of sub-federal units to shape trade policy differ significantly. Building on insights from a collaborative research project, this article discusses the causes of sub-federal mobilization and how the institutional configuration of federalism affects sub-federal units’ options to influence trade policy agreements. In the final section, the article speculates about the conditions that may reinforce or undermine this trend in the future.

 

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Posted by Jörg Broschek in Policies, 0 comments
Intergovernmental Councils and the Stability of Federal Systems

Intergovernmental Councils and the Stability of Federal Systems

Abstract

Intergovernmental councils not only increase the effectiveness and efficiency of public policy-making, they can also contribute to federal stability. Regular meetings of members of governments shape the way federal systems deal with the increasingly interdependent relationship between the governments of a federation. When policy problems cut across jurisdictions, governments’ autonomy is at stake. Looking at examples of major reforms of fiscal policy in Australia, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland, this article identifies the conditions under which intergovernmental councils protect governments’ authority, discretion, and resources so as to avoid federal tensions. Federal governments, in particular, have been eager to get involved in many policy areas for which the constituent units are responsible. Hence, the extent to which intergovernmental councils contribute to the stability of today’s federations ultimately depends on their ability to make the federal government agree on joint solutions with the federated entities.

 

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Posted by Johanna Schnabel in Theory, 0 comments
The Pleasant Greyness of Australian Federalism

The Pleasant Greyness of Australian Federalism

Abstract

This article provides an overview of Australian federalism, describing its origins, design, features, evolution, and issues. Its central theme is the way that, in the notable absence of a ‘federal society’, a system that was decentralised in design and intent has given way to one much more centralised in practice. The issues that plague Australian federalism are the practical ones of fiscal federalism and intergovernmental relations.

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Posted by Alan Fenna in Case Studies, 0 comments