Mechanisms for intergovernmental relations in federations

B. R. Opeskin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Federations employ a large variety of mechanisms for conducting relations between central, regional, and local levels of government. These mechanisms span the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government within each level. Executive involvement ranges widely in degree of formality, from the making of formal intergovernmental agreements to informal liaison between governmental officers. Executive mechanisms have also evolved for correcting vertical and horizontal fiscal imbalances in federal systems. Legislatures play an important role in giving the force of law to cooperative policies initiated by the executive. These legislative mechanisms include reciprocal schemes, complementary schemes, mirror legislation, and the reference or delegation of powers from one level of government to another. The judiciary, though often undervalued, is significant for its role in establishing the legal framework within which other branches of government conduct their intergovernmental relations, through articulation of powers and competencies. The article concludes that policy makers should exercise care in selecting mechanisms that are appropriate to their task. In particular, regard should be had to the efficiency of each mechanism, and its conformity with federal values and the rule of law.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Social Science Journal
Issue number167
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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