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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-352
Number of pages25
JournalCommonwealth and Comparative Politics
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jun 2017
Accepted/In press5 May 2017
E-pub ahead of print16 Jun 2017
Published3 Jul 2017


King's Authors


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.

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