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Democratic FederalismThe Economics, Politics, and Law of Federal Governance$
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Robert Inman and Daniel L. Rubinfeld

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691202129

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691202129.001.0001

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(p.372) 11 Epilogue
Democratic Federalism

Robert P. Inman

Daniel L. Rubinfeld

Princeton University Press

This epilogue addresses the question of who should be federal. While there is much to recommend it, Democratic Federalism may not be for everyone. Any new nation-state seeks to do what smaller and spatially diffuse communities cannot: provide for mutually beneficial public goods, most notably collective security; control intercommunity spillovers; and enforce the rules needed for wider market exchange. Each new state must choose how best to run its affairs. Whether designed as Economic or Cooperative or Democratic Federalism, federal governance is one alternative. But so is a single, unitary government, or perhaps even to remain as separately governed jurisdictions and then manage shared interests by bilateral agreements. There are strengths and weaknesses to each form of governance. While numerous “fundamentals” will be important to the choice of governance—technology, geography, language, ethnicity—the chapter suggests two attributes that may be the most important: heterogeneity of tastes for government services and a willingness to compromise when there is disagreement. Democratic Federalism will be most appropriate for that middle ground where tastes are different but compromise still possible.

Keywords:   Democratic Federalism, nation-state, collective security, federal governance, unitary government, bilateral agreements, Economic Federalism, Cooperative Federalism

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