Forms of Redistributive Cooperation between Center and Periphery in the US and the EU. Some Comparative Considerations in terms of Welfare Federalism and the Federal Social Contract.
Abstract: This article explores forms of redistributive cooperation between center and periphery in the US after the welfare reform of 1996, and in the EU in the frame of cohesion policy. In particular, the article looks at the operation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in the US, and at the mechanisms, which inform the functioning of structural funds in the EU in the 2007-2013 and in the forthcoming 2014-2020 framework program. It highlights how these programs call for redistribution of resources through similarly structured partnerships of federal/Union, state and local actors. These similarities call for reflection on the nature of welfare federalism, and the underlying social contract, in the US and the EU. In particular, this article argues that the exposed forms of redistributive cooperation between centre and periphery signal a new structure of cooperative federalism, which represents a third way between “legislative” cooperative federalism and “executing” cooperative federalism. In addition, these patterns of cooperation suggest a similar evolution of the social contract in the US and the EU towards a model based on mutuality of obligation.