New publication by Wouter Veenendaal in Publius

Free to download: new publication by Wouter Veenendaal in Publius; The journal of federalism: ‘Origins and persistence of federalism and decentralization in microstates‘.

Like their larger counterparts, even the smallest states in the world have delegated powers and competences to subnational units. The present article aims to examine why these microstates, which are themselves smaller than the average municipalities of larger states, apparently recognized a need for political decentralization, and why their decentralized jurisdictions have remained in place. Building on the literature on the origins and persistence of federalism, the analysis reveals that the choice for decentralization in European microstates was made largely according to patterns suggested by the general literature, whereas insular identities and colonial legacies provide the strongest explanations for the origins of federalism in the African, Caribbean, and Pacific cases. On the basis of two case studies of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean and Palau in Oceania, it is found that the persistence of federalism can be explained by means of both historical-institutional and rationalist arguments.

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