Delegative Federalism? Subnational Abdication and Executive Fiscal Centralization in Argentina

Delegative Federalism? Subnational Abdication and Executive Fiscal Centralization in Argentina
Photo by Angelica Reyes on Unsplash

Why do subnational territories consent to a de facto centralization of policy authority that curtails their local economic sovereignty? This talk contribues to this normative and theoretical debate by proposing the concept of delegative federalism, defined as a model of federal governance suitable for explaining how economic contexts impel a dynamic of subnational assent to centralization policies and reforms that oftentimes breach the historic institutional empowerment of subnational authorities. The experience of Argentina, a paradigmatic case of hyper-presidentialist federalism amid institutionally strong provinces, is analyzed to show that national executives may increasingly extend their reach not only because of congressional dysfunction but also due to the disproportionate sway of overrepresented, mostly transfer-dependent subnational governments that shun revenue responsibility. Accordingly, and perpetuating centralization, they delegate tax authority in crises times and abdicate it further when economic windfall affords them with predictable federal grants. Substantively, this discussion problematizes the apparent paradox and counterintuitive logics of subnational fiscal abdication in an era when regional developmnental advantages are central amid an increasingly globalized international economy

Jorge Gordin is Adjunct Professor of Political Science, International Relations and Latin American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Institutional Innovation and the Steering of Conflicts in Latin America (with Lucio Renno) (ECPR Press, 2017, paperback 2018) as well as extensive research on comparative politics, with focus on the political economy of federalism. His research has been published in the European Journal of Political Research, Political Studies Review, Scandinavian Political Studies, Journal of Public Policy, Publius, Regional & Federal Studies, Policy Studies, Journal of Policy History, among others. His most recent work includes a chapter on "Decentralization and Subnational Politics in Latin America" in the Handbook on Decentralization, Devolution and the State (Elgar, 2021). Professor Gordin was the Executive (founding) Editor of Journal of Politics in Latin America (SAGE).

Date & time

Thu 02 Mar 2023, 11am–12.30pm


RSSS room 3.72 or Online via Zoom


Jorge Pablo Gordin


Quynh Nguyen


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