This chapter conveys three related lessons from recent federalism research. First, federalism’s authority boundaries affect the federation’s performance, shaping its capacity to bring security, prosperity and well-being, and justice to a society. Second, boundaries are contested, and multiple safeguards – judicial, extrajudicial and the governments themselves –maintain the boundaries of authority. Third, this chapter examines theories of boundary dynamics. Intentional constitutional revision is not the only way authority boundaries change, and it may not even be the most important way. Evolutionary processes may move the boundaries first, and constitutions may or may not be revised to recognize the new form of federalism in practice. The lessons about authority boundaries are relevant across federal systems.
An institution’s ability to shape behavior is affected by other institutions that are also active – and the legacy of institutions that preceded it. What North described as an “institutional matrix” is a research domain of nearly untapped potential, but it requires new methodological approaches. In this chapter the author suggests one approach to modeling the connection between institutions, Games +, which considers multiple games simultaneously. Connections between games take shape as behavioral spillovers, the way that people employ familiar behaviors as an initial approach to a novel situation. Using a Games + approach is a tool to provide insight into two fields of institutional research: the relationship between culture and institutional performance, and robust institutional design.