Swiss federalism in a changing environment

Füglister, Katharina; Wasserfallen, Fabio (2014). Swiss federalism in a changing environment. Comparative European politics, 12(4/5), pp. 404-421. Palgrave Macmillan 10.1057/cep.2014.28

[img] Text
Swiss federalism in a changing environment.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (127kB) | Request a copy

Switzerland is a prime example of a starkly decentralized federation. Apart from its decentralized structure, direct democracy and consociational governance are the defining features of the Swiss political system. Within that broader institutional context, we evaluate the three hypotheses of this special issue by discussing empirical research covering various policy areas. In line with the theoretical expectations, our findings support the notion that multilateral coordination dominates inter-cantonal relations and that the Swiss federal system is based on the principle of symmetric vertical competence allocation. However, our analysis does not confirm the third expectation of the theoretical framework, namely that in Switzerland inter-governmental cooperation is driven by partisan connections among ministers. Instead, we argue that the power-sharing mechanism of consociational democracy limits partisan dynamics and shifts the focus from intra- to inter-party coordination.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Wasserfallen, Fabio Adriano


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Palgrave Macmillan




Mirco Thomas Good

Date Deposited:

14 May 2020 14:06

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:37

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Federalism; inter-governmental cooperation; Swiss politics; consociational governance




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback