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Discriminating decentralization: federalism and the handling of asylum applications in Switzerland, 1988-1996


Holzer, Thomas; Schneider, Gerald; Widmer, Thomas (2000). Discriminating decentralization: federalism and the handling of asylum applications in Switzerland, 1988-1996. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 44(2):250-276.

Abstract

Federalism belongs to those institutions that usually attract more admirers than critics. This study investigates whether decentralized decision making in the asylum domain undermines the principle of equality in the handling of individual cases. The externalities that power delegation creates are examined, and a principal/agent framework is developed to show how state discretion in the implementation of a unifying federal measure arises. The model distinguishes between positive and negative discrimination in the acceptance of asylum applications. The empirical analysis of approximately 180,000 cases demonstrates that the probability of negative discrimination is partly a function of the organizational principles that characterize the asylum policies of the 26 Swiss states (cantons).

Abstract

Federalism belongs to those institutions that usually attract more admirers than critics. This study investigates whether decentralized decision making in the asylum domain undermines the principle of equality in the handling of individual cases. The externalities that power delegation creates are examined, and a principal/agent framework is developed to show how state discretion in the implementation of a unifying federal measure arises. The model distinguishes between positive and negative discrimination in the acceptance of asylum applications. The empirical analysis of approximately 180,000 cases demonstrates that the probability of negative discrimination is partly a function of the organizational principles that characterize the asylum policies of the 26 Swiss states (cantons).

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Business, Management and Accounting
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Social Sciences & Humanities > Political Science and International Relations
Language:English
Date:April 2000
Deposited On:06 Nov 2018 14:14
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 02:53
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0022-0027
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0022002700044002005

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