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The Purpose of Intergovernmental Councils

  • Johanna SchnabelEmail author
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Part of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series (COMPTPOL)

Abstract

The book compares the role of intergovernmental councils in public policy-making in four federations (Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland), two policy areas (fiscal policy, education policy), and two types of federalism (dual federalism, cooperative federalism). This introductory chapter summaries the main argument of the book, namely that interdependencies in federal and multilevel systems pose a significant threat to their stability if governments fail to coordinate their policies. Intergovernmental councils enhance the efficiency of public policy-making. If well designed, intergovernmental councils also protect the federal balance of power. They are thus federal safeguards that foster the political stability of a federation. A better understanding of their purpose and effectiveness as one of federalisms safeguards contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of federal systems in an increasingly interdependent world such as the centralization experienced by many federations, the blurred distinction of dual and cooperative federalism, and recent attempts at strengthening horizontal coordination.

Keywords

Federalism Multilevel governance Public policy Comparative politics Intergovernmental relations Safeguards 

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and International RelationsUniversity of KentCanterburyUK

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