Explaining Territorial Change in Federal Democracies: A Comparative Historical Institutionalist Approach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article builds a historical institutionalist framework to analyse how the creation or admission of new states or provinces takes place within federations. Despite sustained interest among political scientists in the effects of federal design on ethnic conflict, economic development, and prospects for democratic stability there has been little sustained attempt to explain when and why territorial maps change over time. The article demonstrates that patterns of federal origins shape the framing of institutional arrangements for intergovernmental relations which in turn help to determine subsequent approaches to creating new federal subunits. In ‘coming together’ federal systems where states are represented on an equal basis in an upper chamber, the admission of new states poses a challenge to the balance of power between existing states. Whereas in ‘holding together’ federal systems in which ‘states rights’ find weaker institutionalisation at the federal level, changes to the territorial map can arise as a result of more gradual, incremental processes of political change at the subnational level. These differences are examined through a comparative historical analysis of the creation or admission of new states in India and the United States. Such a comparison challenges the tendency within comparative politics to treat both countries as places of exception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-42
Number of pages16
JournalPOLITICAL STUDIES
Volume63
Issue number3
Early online date12 Feb 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Explaining Territorial Change in Federal Democracies: A Comparative Historical Institutionalist Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this