Dietmar Braun is professor of comparative political science at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques et Internationales at the University of Lausanne. He has published on public policy topics, federalism, political theory and research policies.
Between Market-Preserving Federalism and Intergovernmental Coordination: The Case of Australia
Article first published online: 20 JAN 2011
2006 The Swiss Political Science Review
Swiss Political Science Review
Volume 12, Issue 2, pages 1–36, Summer 2006
How to Cite
Braun, D. (2006), Between Market-Preserving Federalism and Intergovernmental Coordination: The Case of Australia. Swiss Political Science Review, 12: 1–36. doi: 10.1002/j.1662-6370.2006.tb00387.x
- Issue published online: 20 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 20 JAN 2011
- Intergovernmental Relations;
- Policy Reforms;
- Market-preserving federalism;
This article investigates Australia's economic success since the 1990s. As this was set in motion by fundamental political reforms, it asks to what extent Australian-type federalism has been an important factor in the reform process. By using two approaches - the market-preserving federalism approach of Weingast, which stresses the virtues of ‘limited government’, decentralisation and competition together with the intergovernmental coordination approach of Scharpf which argues for a ‘problem-solving’ orientation of territorial actors -, the structure of Australian federalism, changes in the working of the federal system in the 1990s, and effects on policy-making are scrutinised. The article demonstrates that a particular combination of a rather centralised federal structure and a particular type of intergovernmental coordination, i.e. collaboration, supplemented by the strong influence of new public management ideas, has been conducive to political reforms in Australia. This suggests that a decentralised and competitive version of federalism, as defended by Weingast, is not a necessary condition for embarking on a successful reform path in federal countries. In future research, both approaches or analytical dimensions should be used in order to better understand the relationship of intergovernmental relations and policy reforms.