Roads to Rome: Alternative Intergovernmental Routes to Policy Frameworks in Federations

  • Jennifer Wallner


All federations must find ways to create and maintain policy frameworks to guide the decisions of authoritative actors within specific sectors. The division of powers, however, profoundly complicates the formulation of policy frameworks, and achieving them requires intergovernmental processes that breathe life into the formal division of powers to allow actors from the various constituent units to develop and install shared directives to guide policy choices within the pertinent sectors. This paper examines the alternative intergovernmental roads that authoritative actors use to develop policy frameworks creating a typology of vertical and horizontal. Drawing on the work of Smiley (1987), who demonstrated the salience of intragovernmental relations for the organization and execution of intergovernmental relations, we can begin to systematically anticipate the types of intergovernmental processes that will tend to dominate within a federal system. Following Radin and Boase (2000), this paper also considers how the configuration of intergovernmental relations and the workability of certain processes are also affected by the underlying logic of the broader political system. Factors beyond institutions must nevertheless be added into the mix, as norms and culture influence the workability of certain interactions and the crystallization of policy frameworks (Wallner 2012). Correctly anticipating the configuration and subsequent results of intergovernmental relations to install frameworks thus requires careful identification of internal groupings and cultural synergies at work within a particular federation.


Policy Framework Constituent Unit Adequate Yearly Progress Policy Capacity Horizontal Process 
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This paper is part of a broader research project on intergovernmental relations in federal systems generously funded by the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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