Table of Contents

Handbook on Multi-level Governance

Handbook on Multi-level Governance

Elgar original reference

Edited by Henrik Enderlein, Sonja Wälti and Michael Zürn

Scholarship of multi-level governance has developed into one of the most innovative themes of research in political science and public policy. This accessible Handbook presents a thorough review of the wide-ranging literature, encompassing various theoretical and conceptual approaches to multi-level governance and their application to policy-making in domestic, regional and global contexts.

Chapter 6: Subnational Participation in National Decisions: The Role of Second Chambers

Wilfried Swenden

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


Wilfried Swenden Second chambers have been among the most frequently described institutions of federal government. They are said to represent subnational interests (interests of the states, provinces, Länder, cantons, Autonomous Communities, Regions and Communities, Republics or oblasts) in decision-making at the national level. In the current context of multi-level governance, a growing number of policies cross-cut across levels (vertical entanglement) and policy sectors (horizontal entanglement). For instance, regulations to combat climate change cross-cut various ministerial departments (agriculture, environment, energy, transport, housing, finance) and levels of government (global, European, national, regional, local). In this chapter, we are only interested in the latter type, that is, vertical coordination, with a special focus on patterns of state – sub-state (but supralocal) coordination. For instance, in climate change policy, the national level may play a key role in determining the appropriate national environmental targets and in representing its interests in supranational or global forums. However, it may not be able to reach these targets without the cooperation of subnational actors who are responsible for implementing them. Therefore, involving the latter in the process of setting climate change regulations is crucial if the state is to reach its objectives and fulfil its international commitments. Second chambers could be the structural or institutional intergovernmental device in which vertically joined-up policies such as climate change regulations are discussed and decided upon. The key objectives of this chapter are (a) to provide an overview of the diversity of second chambers in terms of their composition and powers and...

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