Thematic Programs

Forum programming on building federal and multilevel systems examines issues that are of key practical importance to emerging federal and multilevel countries including constitution building, power division, fiscal relations, and institutional design. As documents that provide a framework for power sharing, resolving disputes, safeguarding rights and providing reform, constitutions are critically important to governance structure and function. Building on previous work on sub-national constitutions and constitutional change in federal systems, future work in this area will focus on key questions such as: why do subnational constitutions play and important role in some federations but not others? Why do constituent political communities in some federations have the broad autonomy to adopt their own constitution while in other federations they have little autonomy or must adopt a constitution dictated by the central federal constitution? Do national and subnational constitutions serve distinct, complementary, and/or contradictory functions? And how much difference can a written constitution make when considering socio-political forces (including weak support for the rule of law) in many actual and aspiring federations?

Key Resources