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Federalism and SubsidiarityNOMOS LV$
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James E. Fleming and Jacob T Levy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479868858

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479868858.001.0001

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Competing Conceptions of Subsidiarity

Competing Conceptions of Subsidiarity

(p.214) 7 Competing Conceptions of Subsidiarity
Federalism and Subsidiarity

Andreas Føllesdal

NYU Press

This chapter explores different conceptions of the principle of subsidiarity and their implications for constitutional and institutional design. It begins with a discussion of four alternative theories of subsidiarity that draw on insights from Althusius, the American Confederalists, economic or fiscal federalism, and Catholic Personalism, respectively. It then considers some areas where the different conceptions of subsidiarity yield surprisingly different recommendations, with particular emphasis on two key issues: who should have the authority to apply the principle of subsidiarity, and which objectives guide the application of subsidiarity—Pareto improvements, human rights, or redistribution across member units. The chapter concludes by highlighting the dilemmas presented by competing traditions of subsidiarity for the European Court of Human Rights, American constitutional federalism, debates in Europe about the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, and international law.

Keywords:   subsidiarity, Althusius, American Confederalists, fiscal federalism, Catholic Personalism, European Court of Human Rights, constitutional federalism, European Union, international law

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