Federalism, multi-level elections and social policy in Brazil and India

Louise Tillin*, Anthony Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
383 Downloads (Pure)


Comparative studies often highlight the negative effects of federalism for welfare state expansion. We examine Brazil and India, which have both enhanced their welfare effort despite political fragmentation. We argue that federalism’s effects must be seen together with degrees of party system nationalisation. In Brazil, new social policies have reinforced a move towards greater party system nationalisation. Control over anti-poverty programmes has been recentralised leading to more even outcomes. In India, while the central government also introduced new social policies, expansion has been filtered by political regionalisation. The effectiveness of social provision relies on state governments, producing substantial territorial differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-352
Number of pages25
JournalCommonwealth and Comparative Politics
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2017


  • Brazil
  • Federalism
  • India
  • inter-governmental relations
  • multi-level elections
  • party system nationalisation
  • social policy


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