In this provocative and wide-ranging book, Ken Kollman examines the histories of the US government, the Catholic Church, General Motors, and the European Union as examples of federated systems that centralized power over time. He shows how their institutions became locked-in to intensive power in the executive. The problem with these and other federated systems is that they often cannot decentralize even if it makes sense. The analysis leads Kollman to suggest some surprising changes in institutional design for these four cases and for federated institutions everywhere.
Ken Kollman is Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the International Institute at the University of Michigan. He has written numerous books and articles on political parties, political organizations, and elections. His research and written work have been recognized with multiple awards, and have contributed in diverse fields such as computational social science, comparative and American politics, European Union studies, and comparative political parties and elections. He is principal investigator of the Constituency-Level Elections Archive, the largest repository of election results data in the world.
1. Introduction; 2. Trajectories in federated institutions; 3. Nation-state; 4. Church; 5. Corporation; 6. International political union; 7. The elusive balance.