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Efficiency in the multinational federal republic

[journal article]

Gregoire, Jean-Francois

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Abstract The paper is divided in three sections. In the first section, I question the use of the statist redistributive paradigm in federalism. In the second section, I argue that efficiency is a moral principle and that it has a strong normative appeal, especially in contexts of diversity. I show that adopting efficiency as a guiding principle to think of the role of the state, especially in contexts of pluralism, as in MNF, allows us to consider the division of competences in a way that is yet unexplored in political philosophy. Furthermore, I argue that embracing efficiency allows us to avoid the moral problems that other moral approaches encounter, especially as I will defend a non-utilitarian conception of efficiency. That also allows me to show that if one opts for the view that pictures federalism as an efficiency maximizing enterprise, it does not lead to a libertarian conception of federalism. Finally, I try to briefly sketch a possible connection between the principle of efficiency and republican ideal of ‘non-domination’ (Pettit 2012). More specifically I suggest that the pursuit of ‘non-domination’ is totally compatible with the pursuit of efficiency in MNF. In other words, the federal government can interfere to resolve government failures at the sub-unit level, for instance externalities, without being or becoming a dominating agent. The ideal of non-domination supports the sort of strong government interventions defended by egalitarians without having to compromise on the autonomy of federated entities. The combination of efficiency and non-domination ends with a defense of asymmetrical federal arrangements, without sacrificing the equality that states ought to preserve.
Keywords federalism; multi-level system; multi-level-governance; pluralism; republicanism; redistribution; efficiency
Classification Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 24-40
Journal Federal Governance, 11 (2014) 1
ISSN 1923-6158
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Basic Digital Peer Publishing Licence