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A Utopia? Government Without Territorial Monopoly


  • Bruno S. Frey


We normally take it for granted: a government or state has its corresponding territory. This paper shows that government need not have a territorial monopoly. The paper advances a practical, constitutional proposal, based on the notion that there are meaningful government units, whose major characteristic is not the territorial extension but its function. The constitution proposal allows for the emergence of governmental organizations, which will be called FOCJ according to the acronym for "Functional, Overlapping, Competing Jurisdictions�. Their territory is variable, and they do not have a territorial monopoly over it. Rather, they are in competition with other such FOCJ, and they are, moreover, exposed to political competition.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey, "undated". "A Utopia? Government Without Territorial Monopoly," IEW - Working Papers 047, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:047

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vaubel, Roland, 1994. "The Political Economy of Centralization and the European Community," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 81(1-2), pages 151-190, October.
    2. Frey, Bruno S. & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1996. "FOCJ: Competitive governments for Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 315-327, September.
    3. Bird, Richard M., 1993. "Threading the Fiscal Labyrinth: Some Issues in Fiscal Decentralization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 207-27, June.
    4. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
    5. Casella, Alessandra & Frey, Bruno, 1992. "Federalism and clubs : Towards an economic theory of overlapping political jurisdictions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 639-646, April.
    6. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    7. Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
    8. Kirchgassner, Gebhard & Pommerehne, Werner W., 1996. "Tax harmonization and tax competition in the European Union: Lessons from Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 351-371, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Frey, 2013. "European unification: a new proposal," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 285-294, December.

    More about this item


    federalism; constitutional economics; public choice; monopoly on territory;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies


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