Journal article

The Origins of Holding-Together Federalism: Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka

MG Breen

Publius: The Journal of Federalism | Oxford University Press | Published : 2018


Theories on the origin of federalism generally only apply to coming together federalism. In Asia, some states introduced federalism following decolonization to hold together multiethnic communities, but others centralized and pursued a nation-building agenda. Federalism was not established in Asia again until Nepal’s new constitution of 2015. Why has federalism been resisted and what causes its institutionalization? Using the cases of Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, I show that a moderate secession risk, together with a substantive peripheral infrastructural capacity, are necessary conditions for the establishment of holding together federalism. A high secession risk prevents the formation of ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Government of Singapore, Ministry of Education

Funding Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments, and Baogang He and Brian Galligan for their ongoing advice. This work was supported by the Government of Singapore, Ministry of Education [MOE2013-T2-2-025].