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Swiss federalism in a changing environment


Füglister, Katharina; Wasserfallen, Fabio (2014). Swiss federalism in a changing environment. Comparative European Politics, 12(4-5):404-421.

Abstract

Switzerland is a prime example of a starkly decentralized federation. Apart from its decentralized structure, direct democracy and consociational governance are the defining features of the Swiss political system. Within that broader institutional context, we evaluate the three hypotheses of this special issue by discussing empirical research covering various policy areas. In line with the theoretical expectations, our findings support the notion that multilateral coordination dominates inter-cantonal relations and that the Swiss federal system is based on the principle of symmetric vertical competence allocation. However, our analysis does not confirm the third expectation of the theoretical framework, namely that in Switzerland inter-governmental cooperation is driven by partisan connections among ministers. Instead, we argue that the power-sharing mechanism of consociational democracy limits partisan dynamics and shifts the focus from intra- to inter-party coordination.

Abstract

Switzerland is a prime example of a starkly decentralized federation. Apart from its decentralized structure, direct democracy and consociational governance are the defining features of the Swiss political system. Within that broader institutional context, we evaluate the three hypotheses of this special issue by discussing empirical research covering various policy areas. In line with the theoretical expectations, our findings support the notion that multilateral coordination dominates inter-cantonal relations and that the Swiss federal system is based on the principle of symmetric vertical competence allocation. However, our analysis does not confirm the third expectation of the theoretical framework, namely that in Switzerland inter-governmental cooperation is driven by partisan connections among ministers. Instead, we argue that the power-sharing mechanism of consociational democracy limits partisan dynamics and shifts the focus from intra- to inter-party coordination.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:federalism, inter-governmental cooperation, Swiss politics, consociational governance
Language:English
Date:July 2014
Deposited On:08 Jan 2018 15:44
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 23:40
Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.
ISSN:1472-4790
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1057/cep.2014.28

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