Politics and International Relations

An Instrument of Centralisation? Exploring the Politics of Conditional Grants in Federal States

Fellow: Dr Johanna Schnabel; Mentor: Dr Paolo Dardanelli

The aim of this project is to scrutinise whether the use of conditional grants in funding welfare policies in federal states does lead to centralisation, as most scholars claim. Centralisation is seen as a problem for federal states because it undermines regional autonomy, the preservation of which is federalism’s fundamental purpose. However, conditional grants may be a useful tool in addressing the so-called ‘devolution paradox’, whereby citizens tend to support regional autonomy but at the same time dislike territorial inequalities. As the politics of conditional grants has not been systematically investigated, we do not know whether they really centralise power in the hands of the federal government. To answer this question, the project examines the genesis, monitoring, and enforcement of programmes funded through conditional grants in Australia, Canada, and the United States. By so doing, it sheds light on an important aspect of how federal systems operate.


Funding Body: British Academy: Newton International Fellowship

Amount awarded: £59,344.00

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Last Updated: 16/04/2018