The Forum of Federations Handbook on Local Government in Federal Systems

New Open Access Book by the Forum of Federations (edited by Nico Steytler)

As the order of government closest to the people, local governments have historically played, and continue to play, a significant role in systems of governance. Local government is an essential component of any democratic society, providing critical services, representation, and accountability to its citizens. By working with other orders of government, local governments can help create thriving, vibrant communities that benefit everyone.

In today’s times, where the world is seemingly getting smaller, communities have a renewed interest in the role that local government may offer. The majority of the population in most countries resides in cities, the governance of which is not only more complex but also has the ability to impact significantly on the rest of the country. Local governments are also often first responders in times of disaster or emergencies. These dynamics were forcefully brought to the surface during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this context, the new Forum of Federations Handbook on Local Government in Federal Systems brings together leading scholars and practitioners from around the globe to examine the current roles of and future trends in local government structures and mechanisms in 16 different federal and federal-type countries.

In doing so, this volume explores pressing topics such as the institutions of local government, constitutional recognition, financial management, intergovernmental relations, political culture, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the role of local government in federal systems. Contributors to this volume provide a timely and comprehensive account of the integral role local governments play in federal countries and offer fascinating perspectives on how these roles may change as individual federal systems evolve.

These individual analyses are contextualized in a comparative perspective in order to gain a holistic understanding of the challenges and opportunities of various local government dynamics in different regions around the world.

Table of contents

1 – Introduction – Nico Steytler
2 – Argentina – Penélope Vaca Avila
3 – Australia – Graham Sansom, Su Fei Tan
4 – Austria – Karl Kössler
5 – Brazil – Sol Garson, Kleber Castro
6 – Canada – Enid Slack, Zack Taylor
7 – Ethiopia – Zemelak Ayitenew Ayele
8 – Germany – Henrik Scheller
9 – India – Niranjan Sahoo
10 – Italy – Elisabeth Alber, Alice Valdesalici, Greta Klotz
11 – Mexico – Mónica Unda-Gutierrez, Alejandra Reyes
12 – Nepal – Khim Lal Devkota, Gopi Krishna Khanal
13 – Nigeria – Rotimi T. Suberu
14 – South Africa – Jaap de Visser
15 – Spain – Francisco Velasco Caballero
16 – Switzerland – Andreas Ladner
17 – United States of America – Meryl Justin Chertoff
18 – Comparative Conclusions – Nico Steytler

Open Access: The Forum of Federations Handbook on Local Government in Federal Systems, Palgrave Macmillan, 2024. Editor: Nico Steytler.