Today as another important concept is unity in diversity debate rely on the intellectual foundations of sociological theory. In this paper, the sociological approach which contains important debate and discussion points will be considered together with the conceptual map. Banting, Keith G. Brand, Dirk J. Clarke, Susan E. Dimitris N. Elazar, Daniel J. Falleti, Tulia G. Filippov, Mikhail, Ordeshook, Peter C. Greer, Scott L. Hadley, Charles D. Kelemen, Daniel R. Ultimately, the disruptive character of the three types of unilateral solutions also depends on the extent to which they run against the interests and preferences of the governments which potentially lose power.
If unilateral solutions correspond to some or most interests of the other governments, losses of discretion or authority may be more acceptable to them. Thus, such unilateralism is less likely to cause federal tensions. Whereas they may alter the distribution of power, such changes are agreed upon by all federal actors, and federal stability is maintained. Joint solutions are collaborative if they are not only formally adopted by all governments, but if all governments are involved in their design, and if all governments comply with them.
Intergovernmental councils encourage governments of a federation to find collaborative joint solutions. However, the extent to which they successfully incentivise governments to reach such solutions depends on their design. Firstly, councils have to operate in such a way that they are able to process federally salient matters, instead of excluding them from their agenda.
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In the latter case, a joint solution is not even developed or governments merely agree on the lowest common denominator. Officials lack the legitimacy to make political decisions, and coordination will be limited to technical, non-contentious issues. Secondly, councils should be highly institutionalised, so that coordination is a continuous process in the course of which interests and preferences of all governments are accommodated. Moreover, a high level of institutionalisation increases exit costs. Meetings should be chaired on a rotating basis, and the council secretariat should be independent.
Put differently, the federal government must not preside council meetings on a permanent basis and it should not oversee the council administration.
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Such strong councils exist in Germany and Switzerland, as the enactment of two recent reforms of fiscal policy shows. In federal systems, fiscal policy is a particularly salient policy area, where agreement can be difficult to reach. All governments participated in the development of these reforms and jointly adopted them. Losses of autonomy were equally distributed. The councils involved in the enactment of the Debt Brake, namely the Federalism Reform Commission II and the German Bundesrat, have the capacity to deal with a federally salient matter such as deficit and debt limits.
While the Debt Brake shows certain signs of a lowest common denominator solution, which suggests that certain aspects had to be excluded from the agenda for their contentiousness, it nevertheless constitutes a comprehensive solution to the deficit problem. It can be considered a success that a joint fiscal rule was entrenched in the federal constitution in the first place. Further reasons why these councils reached agreement on such sensitive issues as deficit-making and corporate taxes is that external pressure was high.
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Germany had to solve its debt problem after enacting fiscal stimulus measures during the Global Financial Crisis Heinz, Additional pressure came from the Constitutional Court. Pressure on Switzerland to reform its corporate tax system came from the European Union and the OECD as well as international tax competition. The councils that developed these reforms are highly institutionalised. Thus, they met on a regular basis, as stipulated in their terms of reference. In a first phase, council members built consensus on the broader directions of reform, drawing on proposals and recommendations from committees and working groups, going back and forth between different drafts.
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In a second phase, they settled the more detailed provisions and regulations, again iterating between drafts and their updates. This procedure ensured that all governments could provide input throughout the entire process and at various stages, so that interests and preferences were accommodated. Broad coalitions in Switzerland also fostered consensus-building. Parties across the spectrum agreed on the need to reform the tax system, as did parties in Germany with regard to fiscal consolidation.
Given that the reform processes were hence inclusive, comprehensive, and continuous, the joint solutions were acceptable to all governments. Finally, the federal governments do not dominate these councils. The Swiss federal finance minister chaired the meetings of the Projektorganisation. Nevertheless, the federal government used the council to consult the cantons instead of imposing a policy upon them.
In Australia and Canada, in contrast, the councils working on similarly significant reforms in fiscal policy operate in such a way that unilateral problem-solving prevails.
Burgess m 2006 comparative federalism theory and
Moreover, the federal governments failed to comply in the aftermath, even though the two reforms were formally adopted by the two levels of governments. However, they are weakly institutionalised and dominated by the federal government. Committees, working groups, and a secretariat to prepare recommendations for council meetings are lacking.
The federal government decided on the timing of the meetings and their content, even though initial meetings were called upon pressure from the provinces. The few federal-provincial council meetings mostly served the purpose of having the provinces endorse federal proposals. But given that these councils are also weakly institutionalised, they failed to transform horizontal coordination into actual leverage. Canberra chairs council meetings.
Besides, the secretariats of these councils are located within the federal government. Consequently, the federal government used the COAG council system to advance its own agenda with respect to reforming the system of federal transfers to the states. The following articles are merged in Scholar.
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