Intergovernmental Arrangements in Spanish and Swiss Federalism: the Impact of Power-Concentrating and Power-Sharing Executives on Intergovernmental Institutionalization
Title: Intergovernmental Arrangements in Spanish and Swiss Federalism: the Impact of Power-Concentrating and Power-Sharing Executives on Intergovernmental Institutionalization
Author: BOLLEYER, Nicole
Citation: Regional and Federal Studies, 16, 4, 2006, 1-23
This article argues that the mode of decision making within federal sub-units affects the organizational patterns of intergovernmental relations (IGR) through which regional actors engage in cross-jurisdictional co-operation. In a nutshell, majoritarian executive-legislative relations tend to weaken the institutionalization of intergovernmental arrangements (IGAs), while power-sharing executive-legislative relations tend to facilitate it. This is, first, because one-party majority cabinets tend to increase ideological differences between the sub-units. Secondly, complete government alternations—which are less likely given coalition or oversized governments—strongly alter actors' interest constellations over time, thereby increasing the costs of maintaining stable intergovernmental structures. Thirdly, the heavy impact of a potential electoral loss induces politicians to shift the blame to the other governments, thereby undermining the potential for cross-boundary co-operation. Finally, autonomy losses caused by intergovernmental co-operation are higher for parties which govern alone when compared to coalition governments. Based on a typology of power-limiting democracies, which distinguishes federal systems along their respective executive-legislative relations, Spain and Switzerland are selected as cases. The analysis indicates that the much more power-concentrating executive-legislative relations within the Spanish regions and the power-sharing executive-legislative relations within the Swiss cantons help to explain why Spanish regional actors resort to ad hoc co-ordination within a weakly institutionalized environment instead of establishing strong IGAs as the Swiss regional actors
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