John Kincaid, Spring 1995; Publius, "Values and value tradeoffs in federalism," EE2001-hxm P.

Federalism also permits citizens to "vote with their feet" by leaving, or threatening to leave, a jurisdiction so as to put pressure at least on constituent governments to match public services with public preferences. Short of leaving a jurisdiction, citizens can vote for or against candidates for public offices and otherwise seek to influence government. By providing for regional and local self-government and for freedom of interjurisdictional mobility, a federal arrangement gives citizens many choices of government jurisdictions offering different packages of taxes, public services, and civic values.(24) In extreme cases, citizens can flee oppressive jurisdictions, as did many African Americans who migrated out of the South to escape slavery and then legalized discrimination.

These values contribute to equity and justice as well. Where most domestic public goods and services are provided through self-governing constituent regional and local governments, service benefits are more likely to be matched to tax burdens relative to other jurisdictions, though not necessarily to individuals within a given jurisdiction. The matching of burdens and benefits relative to taxpayers within a jurisdiction will depend on the precise tax and fee structure. Free-riding is reduced with respect to jurisdictions, however, and citizens are more likely to get what they pay for, rather than paying for what they do not want, need, or get from government.


John Kincaid, Spring 1995; Publius, "Values and value tradeoffs in federalism," EE2001-hxm P.

Modern democratic federalism has generally been associated with market economies, in part because federalism disperses power and places countervailing limits on the powers of governments. These limits help to protect property rights along with other rights. Furthermore, a market economy, like a federal arrangement where power is constitutionally divided and shared rather than simply decentralized from center to peripheries, operates in a noncentralized manner. Many governments make decisions and take action without a central guidance mechanism, although forces for monopolization arise in both market and federal systems. The contemporary spread of market economies may create normative and socioeconomic conditions conducive to federalism because key characteristics of markets complement those of federalism, namely: the importance of contractual relationships between consenting persons and organizations in a market economy; entrepreneurial self-governance; consumer rights consciousness; interjurisdictional mobility and competition as well as cooperation; the diversity rather than homogeneity on which markets thrive; the realization that people need not like each other to benefit each other; the emphasis in market competition on individual and group talent and merit; and the resistance of markets to institutional centralization and immortality.