Authoritarianism, democracy and de/Centralization in federations: what connections?

Dardanelli, Paolo; Kincaid, John; Adeney, Katharine; Moscovich, Lorena; Olmeda Cruz, Juan; Schlegel, Rogerio; Suberu, Rotimi; Boni, Filippo and Lacroix Eussler, Santiago (2023). Authoritarianism, democracy and de/Centralization in federations: what connections? Regional and Federal Studies, 33(5) pp. 577–606.



What is the impact of democracy/authoritarianism regime change on de/centralization in federations? Based on the annual coding of three politico-institutional aspects, 22 policy fields, and five fiscal categories, this article maps de/centralization in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan from the establishment of their respective federal orders to 2020. It shows that de/centralization varies greatly across its different dimensions as well as between systems, with centralization being the dominant long-term trend but with significant exceptions, notably Pakistan. Regime change plays a major role in de/centralization but not always in line with the usual expectation that authoritarian regimes centralize and democratic ones decentralize. Other factors that cut across the authoritarianism/democracy divide, notably ideological orientations, have substantial impacts on de/centralization. By investigating long-run patterns of de/centralization in federations that have experienced democracy/authoritarianism regime change, the article sheds light on how federalism operates beyond consolidated democracies.

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