Federalism and democracy: the political economy of interlayer committees
Political federalism aims at producing a larger and deeper participation of citizens to the democratic decision-making process. This aim is partly frustrated when inter-layers legislative processes and administrative activities occur. Such overlap of functions and activities takes place in a number of inter-layers committees which are not democratically nor accountable and whose activities are ignored by the citizens-voters. This paper is especially focused on the case of the Italian "Conferenza Stato Regioni" (CSR). Its organization and decision making rules are presented and discussed together with some empirical evidence on its activities. Building on the game theoretical an political economy literature, we also discuss the conceptual foundations of committees' behaviour. We conclude that the CSR needs deep reforms in its role and functioning. In particular our suggestion is to abolish the unanimity rule, which is currently required to pass decisions. Finally we suggest some incentives to give a greater salience to CSR activities and decisions through the media and the interest groups.
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