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.