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Economic Constitution of Federal States

Economic Constitution of Federal States

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1978
Pages: 166
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Economic Constitution of Federal States
    Book Description:

    A study of "economic imperialism" based on a theoretical inquiry into the most important research frontier in the scholarly field: the analysis of constitutions.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3242-4
    Subjects: Economics, Political Science, Business

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. PART ONE Concepts

    • 1 Introduction and background
      (pp. 3-10)

      The main task we have set for ourselves in this book is that of formulating models that would allow us to understand the nature and the working of the forces that govern the assignment of functions or powers to the various jurisdictional levels that make up federal states. We wish, in other words, to be able to explain why it is that the governments located at one particular jurisdictional level - the provincial level or the local level, for example - have the authority to make laws, to regulate, or to spend money on certain activities and not on others....

    • 2 Private activities, public policies, and jurisdictional functions
      (pp. 11-18)

      In this chapter, we examine some characteristics of the five classes of functions or powers that are assigned to the various jurisdictional levels that constitute the public sector of a given society. To be specific, in the next section we suggest a classification of functions and briefly illustrate the content of each class, then in Section 3 we focus on the geographical or spatial aspect of the functions and point to some essential features that are shared by all functions.

      Before we introduce them, we should indicate that the definition of functions that we have adopted is fairly close to...

    • 3 Structural dimensions of the public sector
      (pp. 19-33)

      Now that we have stated what we mean by functions and policies, we will, after defining jurisdictions and jurisdictional levels, develop a concept that will play a central role in our theory of the structure of the public sector because it will be our representation or measure of that structure: the assignment table. We will then suggest an index or summary measure, albeit an imperfect one, of that table, which we will call the degree of centralization; we will present, as illustrations, some tentative numbers on the behaviour of that co-efficient for Canada, Switzerland, and the United States.

      As will...

    • 4 The orthodox economic approach to federalism
      (pp. 34-48)

      The orthodox economic view of federalism or, as we have called it, of the structure of the public sector, rests on three basic assumptions: (a) that a structure exists, that is, that more than one jurisdictional level of government exists and therefore that the public sector can be described by something like the assignment table we have introduced in Chapter 3; (b) that public goods, externalities, or spill-overs and economies of scale such as those we described in Chapter 2 also exist; and (c) that organizational costs, ie, signalling, mobility, administration, and co-ordination costs, are zero. However, since these costs...

  4. PART TWO Models of Federalism

    • 5 Citizens and governments
      (pp. 51-61)

      Three different kinds of actors are needed to articulate and resolve the models of Chapters 7 and 8: citizens, politicians, and bureaucrats. When we focus on decisions pertaining to the formulation and implementation ofpolicies,politicians and bureaucrats are said to be engaged in a governmental role and the institutions they are deemed to constitute are called governments. When they are concerned with the assignment offunctions,politicians and bureaucrats are deemed to be performing a constitutional role and the institutions which they are then conceived to be operating we call constituent assemblies.

      In this chapter, after a discussion of...

    • 6 Constituent assemblies
      (pp. 62-67)

      In Chapter 3 we introduced constituent assemblies and defined them as bodies made up of individuals whose tasks are to design the boundaries of jurisdictions and to assign functions to jurisdictional levels. In this chapter, we wish first to distinguish between two different kinds of constituent assemblies and in Section 3 to discuss some of the rules or ‘motivations’ which, we assume, govern the behaviour of the members of constituent assemblies. In Section 4 we give illustrations of some of the instruments which constituent assemblies use when they decide to alter assignment tables.

      Before we proceed with this discussion we...

    • 7 Least-cost models of federalism
      (pp. 68-89)

      In the previous two chapters we have introduced the actors and institutions - citizens, governments, and constituent assemblies¹ - whose actions always determine the assignment of functions or powers between jurisdictional levels. In this chapter, holding to the objective functions imputed to citizens and governments, we work through the implications of the hypothesis that constituent assemblies act in such a way as to minimize the sum total of resources invested in organizational activities, that is in mobility, signalling, administration, and co-ordination by citizens and governments. Except when otherwise indicated, we assume that changes in the assignment table can be effected...

    • 8 Representative government models of federalism
      (pp. 90-102)

      In previous chapters we emphasized that one of the characteristics of least-cost models was that members of the constituent assembly, and therefore the assembly itself, had no preferences of their own about the assignment table.¹ In making a decision about assignments, the constituent assembly simply calculated the costs of the various organizational activities engaged in by citizens and governments and selected the one for which these costs were a minimum. It was governed solely by these considerations.

      If one departs from the assumption that organizational resource costs are minimized by the constituent assembly it is easy to assume that members...

  5. PART THREE Special Topics

    • 9 The selection of topics
      (pp. 105-110)

      The chapters in Part Two are of general application. It is possible, however, that some of our readers - especially those trained as economists - may have read those chapters as if they applied exclusively to the assignment of supply functions, but not to the assignment of such other functions as regulation, revenue, redistribution, and stabilization. It is our purpose in Chapters 10 and 11 to discuss the application of our assignment theory to redistribution and stabilization and in Chapter 12 to assemble in one place our conclusions about interjurisdictional grants.

      In one sentence, we chose to devote separate chapters...

    • 10 The assignment of redistribution functions
      (pp. 111-130)

      To ask which jurisdictional levels should redistribute is to invite the response that whichever governments have presided while market forces, inheritance, and routing public expenditures have shaped the existing distribution must be the logical candidates for reshaping it. In other words, each jurisdiction should have its own redistribution branch. This facile response evades the problem of assigning the redistribution functions, but it does suggest a need for interpreting what ‘the assignment of redistribution’ means. Two senses of this phrase may be suggested, one too abstract, the other perhaps too concrete.

      In the first sense, the re distributive function depends on...

    • 11 Special problems in the assignment of stabilization functions
      (pp. 131-141)

      In this chapter we discuss the forces that impinge on the assignment of the stabilization functions in a federal structure. The special problems that pertain to stabilization are not difficulties in applying the approach outlined in Part Two, but in understanding how and in what direction a change in the centralization of stabilization powers can cause a change in organizational activities and in organizational costs. Once such relationships have been mapped out, the comparative statics of the assignment process are fairly straightforward.

      The stabilization functions were defined in Chapter 2. Involving the smoothing out, at a desired level, of fluctuations...

    • 12 The role of grants in the assignment process
      (pp. 142-156)

      We have, in the preceding chapters, proposed two models of constituent assembly behaviour and examined how the structure of the public sector would be determined and changed when certain parameters were altered. But, except for a few brief comments and digressions, we treated the various classes of functions - regulatory, supply, revenue, redistribution, and stabilization - as if they were independent of each other.

      Essentially, we proceeded as if decisions about the assignment of functions and hence about the structure of the public sector could be made with respect to each class of power or function one by one. In...

  6. Index
    (pp. 157-166)