A Tale of Two Federalisms: Long-Term Institutional Change in the United States and in Germany

Posted: 3 Nov 2010

See all articles by Jan Schnellenbach

Jan Schnellenbach

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics; Walter Eucken Institute

Thomas Döring

University of Kassel

Date Written: November 2, 2010

Abstract

This paper offers a comparison of government centralization in the United States and in Germany. After briefly laying out the history of federalism in both countries, we identify the instruments of centralization at work. It is argued that an initial constitutional framework of competitive federalism does not prevent the long-term centralization of competencies. Against a background of historical evidence, we discuss the political economics of government centralization. It is argued that formal institutions clearly have an effect on the pathways of government centralization, but not necessarily on the broader trend of centralization. The conclusion is reached that preservation of state and local autonomy may eventually hinge on informal political institutions.

Keywords: Federalism, Government Centralization, State and Local Autonomy, Bryce Law, Popitz Law, Institutional Evolution

JEL Classification: H77, K19, Z10, P42, N42, N44

Suggested Citation

Schnellenbach, Jan and Döring, Thomas, A Tale of Two Federalisms: Long-Term Institutional Change in the United States and in Germany (November 2, 2010). Constitutional Political Economy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1702027

Jan Schnellenbach (Contact Author)

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics ( email )

Erich-Weinert-Str. 1
Cottbus, 03046
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.b-tu.de/fg-vwl-mikro/team/prof-dr-jan-schnellenbach

Walter Eucken Institute ( email )

Goethestr. 10
Freiburg, 79100
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.eucken.de

Thomas Döring

University of Kassel ( email )

D-34109 Kassel, Hessen
Germany

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