Federalism Index Project
Making Federalism Accessible
"It's true that Republicans have often been more clearly associated with federalism. But both sides are fair-weather federalists. Both sides will, depending on the politics of the moment, prefer state or national power, depending on where they're in control. People ought to have a more enduring commitment to federalism for democratic reasons-that's the aim of my research agenda….I'm delighted to have people come late to the party. And I hope to convince them that this shouldn't be a short-term commitment because they don't like the politics of the moment. A commitment to federalism should really be a long-term commitment based on the importance of democratic design."
— Heather Gerken
Federalism Organizations provides an opportunity to enhance dialogue, examine boundaries and roles regarding federal-state relations, as well as strive for a proper balance in our federal system. It is interesting to note that these committees are not specific to a particular region or political party - showing that federalism is a topic that is relevant to a wide range of people and countries.
The concentration of regulatory power in the federal government over the last 100 years has raised numerous concerns related to efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability. Measuring variation in regulations provides a perspective on American federalism that can not be captured in other standard measures.
Americans have debated centralization versus state autonomy since the founding era. Yet, there are relatively few empirical analyses of the extent, nature, duration, and magnitude of centralization over time. Measuring "power shifts" empirically is a first step in understanding how our current American federal system works and how power has shifted across policy dimensions from the founding to today.
What do Americans know about the American federal system? Considering the importance of civic knowledge in evaluating the health of the federal system, this dashboard attempts to provide a comprehensive overview of existing research on how well Americans know their own federal system. Initial research suggests that Constitutional literacy in federalism studies is low, compared to Constitutional literacy in other areas.