"State Autonomy in Germany and the United States"

Michigan Law Authors
Publish Date
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Publication Type
Journal Article

Both the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany have mechanisms by which their component jurisdictions; states or Länder; can either implement federal law or resist such implementation. The authors describe the different constitutional mechanisms by which the two federal regimes induce state cooperation and protect state autonomy. They then offer some speculations as to how such constitutional rules might affect cooperative federalism in the two nations, arguing that the German system provides more categorical and therefore more secure protection of the Länder, whereas the U.S. system provides for a more flexible system of cooperative federalism. This flexibility of the U.S. system, the authors suggest, allows for vertical competition between the federal government and the states, which may provide a valuable tool to combat inefficiency in policy implementation.

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