A Research Agenda for Federalism Studies
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A Research Agenda for Federalism Studies

Edited by John Kincaid

In this forward-thinking book, fifteen leading scholars set forth cutting-edge agendas for research on significant facets of federalism, including basic theory, comparative studies, national and subnational constitutionalism, courts, self-rule and shared rule, centralization and decentralization, nationalism and diversity, conflict resolution, gender equity, and federalism challenges in Africa, Asia, and the European Union. More than 40 percent of the world’s population lives under federal arrangements, making federalism not only a major research subject but also a vital political issue worldwide.
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Chapter 6: What hope for comparative federalism?

Alan Fenna

Abstract

This chapter explores the possibilities and challenges of comparative analysis in federal studies, whether directed at greater understanding of the promise and impact of federalism or of the way federal systems operate and evolve. Examples from the existing literature illustrate the dilemmas of large-N versus small-N studies, the limits of case availability and issues of case selection, and the consequent rarity of robust findings. The chapter emphasizes the need for greater methodological rigour in future research and suggests a focus on topics with the greatest relevance to the challenges of the modern world.

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