IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Constitutional safeguards against centralization in federal states: An international cross-section analysis

  • Roland Vaubel

This paper contains an international cross-section analysis of the share of central government expenditure in total government expenditure for a sample of about 50 countries and a subsample of 23 industrial countries in 1989–91. The expenditure shares, their changes and the unexplained residuals for each country are reported in Table 1. As the analysis demonstrates, the share of central government is significantly lower, if income per capita and the country's area are large and if it is a federal state. The explanatory power of the equation rises considerably if the binary dummy for federalism is replaced by quantitative constitutional variables. The most powerful single explanatory variable is the age of the constitutional court in the complete sample or the constitutional court's independence of union institutions in the sample of industrial countries. The equation's explanatory power (adjusted for degrees of freedom) can be raised by allowing also for the degree of control which provincial institutions have over the constitution and over the second chamber and by taking into account whether an increase in federal tax rates requires a popular referendum. Other types of constitutional referenda and the relative age of the federal constitution do not seem to matter. Among the federal states, the share of central government is much larger than predicted in the United States and Mexico, and it is much smaller than predicted in Argentina and Canada. The constitutional variables are particularly helpful in explaining the relatively small share of central government in Switzerland, Malaysia, Germany and Austria. The last section draws conclusions for the design of constitutions with some special applications to the European Union. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Springer in its journal Constitutional Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 7 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 79-102

in new window

Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:7:y:1996:i:2:p:79-102
Contact details of provider: Web page:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:7:y:1996:i:2:p:79-102. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.