Capitol Hill, State House, or City Hall: Debating the Location of Political Power and Decision-Making
A Mercatus Colloquium
In a federal system, what is the best way to balance the needs for local autonomy, interjurisdictional commerce, and individual liberty? How do emerging technologies and policy debates affect the ways we think about this balance?
Over the next two weeks, scholars at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will explore these questions in a series of essays. The colloquium, titled “Capitol Hill, State House, or City Hall: Debating the Location of Political Power and Decision-Making,” will feature six authors with differing viewpoints on how policymakers at each level of government should approach decision-making within our federal system.
The colloquium begins with Adam Thierer’s lead essay, “The Question of Balance.” In subsequent essays, scholars touch on a range of issues and ideas—from zoning laws to “market-preserving federalism.” We hope these essays will engage others and prompt further debate and discussion on this important topic in public policy.
Links to the News on this Topic
- On a Massachusetts bill related to housing development
- On a new California law that restricts how localities can regulate accessory dwelling units
- On ridesharing services in Texas
- On Airbnb in Florida
- On the minimum wage
- On labor regulation
- On bathroom policies and immigration policies
- On how states block local regulations at the request of industry
Further Reading on Federalism
- James Madison, Federalist No. 10, in The Federalist, the Gideon Edition, ed. George W. Carey and James McClellan (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2001).
- Richard Wagner, American Federalism: How Well Does It Support Liberty (Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2014).
- Michael S. Greve, Federalism and the Constitution: Competition versus Cartels (Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 2015).
- Adam D. Thierer, The Delicate Balance: Federalism, Interstate Commerce, and Economic Freedom in the Technological Age (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 1998).
- Barry R. Weingast, “The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development,” Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization 11 (1995).
- Vincent Ostrom, Charles M. Tiebout, and Robert Warren, “The Organization of Government in Metropolitan Areas: A Theoretical Inquiry,” American Political Science Review 55, no. 4 (1961).
- Chicago–Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, “Gibbons v. Ogden,” Oyez, accessed July 14, 2017.
- Chicago–Kent College of Law at Illinois Tech, “Slaughter-House Cases,” Oyez, accessed July 14, 2017.
- Michael Kent Curtis, No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1987).