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The Federal VisionLegitimacy and Levels of Governance in the United States and the European Union$
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Kalypso Nicolaidis and Robert Howse

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245000

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199245002.001.0001

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Federal Governance in the United States and the European Union: A Policy Network Perspective

Federal Governance in the United States and the European Union: A Policy Network Perspective

(p.300) 11 Federal Governance in the United States and the European Union: A Policy Network Perspective
The Federal Vision

John Peterson

Laurence J. O'Toole

Oxford University Press

The authors start by pointing out that as institutional forms for the governance of polities on a massive scale in the USA and the EU, networks face serious and potentially disabling challenges in terms of legitimacy. Network forms of governance tend to advantage experts or sophisticated actors who are familiar with all levels of government in federal systems, as opposed to ordinary citizens. To ignore the normative questions about input legitimacy to which network governance gives rise to risks weakening the democratic foundations of the federalist contracts that bind together levels of governance, public, quasi‐public, and private actors, and states and citizens in Europe and America. The argument is presented in four sections: first, an explanation is given of why network forms of governance have proliferated and the legitimacy issues that arise are considered, yielding a set of assessment criteria to be applied in framing analyses of legitimacy in different, real‐world political systems; second, an examination is made of networks in the EU; third, an assessment is offered of network structures in American governance; last, network structures in the two polities are compared and contrasted, highlighting both critical issues and network features with implications for legitimacy, as well as ways in which the democratic deficit that plagues network forms of governance might be closed.

Keywords:   EU, federal systems, federalism, governance, input legitimacy, legitimacy, network governance, network structures, policy networks, USA

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