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comptes 1997/1998; AVS, AI: amounts delivered by the Federal Department of Social Insurance; AFA: amounts delivered by the Federal Departement of
Equalizing proportions are evaluated on the basis of the 1991 estimated results (DAFFLON, 1995, p. 198) since the revenue sharing formulas have not
Only federal specific grants paid to the cantons which contain an equalization supplement have been taken into consideration. The equalization
proportion has been given by the Federal Finance Administration from its own calculations. It corresponds to the results that the author has obtained for
1991 from its own estimation (DAFFLON, 1995, pp. 299). CHART 1
Cantonal Revenue per capita: Growth Rate 1980-1998 and Disparities 1998
60,0 Growth Rate Yi/1980-1998 in % (Real Valvue) 50,0 SZ BS NW
40,0 UR 30,0 AI TI
SH ZH BL
20,0 AR JU 0,0
30 000 OW 35 000 AG SG VS ZG
GL CH SO TG
FR 10,0 VD GR GE NE
BE 40 000 45 000 50 000 55 000 60 000 65 000 70 000 75 000 80 000 Yi/Hi 1998 99 Commission on Fiscal Imbalance Balance and imbalance in the
Swiss federal system
By Sonja Wälti 1. WHAT PURPOSE DOES COMPARISON SERVE? It may seem daring to study Swiss federalism in order to put into perspective the Canadian federal system, given the
enormous difference in size between the two countries. Switzerland has barely 7 million inhabitants, while Canada has
over 30 million. Switzerland has an area of just over 40,000 km2, while Canada has an area of nearly 10 million km2. A
Swiss person living at the edge of the country can reach the capital city, Bern, 250 km away by train in just over four
hours, while a Canadian in the same situation must travel nearly 4,000 km to reach Ottawa.
What, one might ask, is the use of drawing parallels between two such different situations? In my opinion, there are two
reasons why such an undertaking is far from futile, not necessarily to copy the systems but to better understand them.
First, federalism in the two countries displays important similarities, which bode well for a fruitful comparison. Second,
institutions are, so to speak, indifferent to size. The executive and legislative branches and the administrative system
resemble each other regardless of the number of inhabitants to be served, the land area to be administered and the
distances to be travelled, all the more so as these data are less and less important in a world that is at once ‘local’ and
‘global’ in nature. Solutions adopted in one country can therefore, bearing in mind the specific traits of each country, be
contemplated in the other.
This paper seeks to put into perspective fiscal federalism in Switzerland, in particular facets pertaining to fiscal balance
and imbalance. It is intended to present a “political portrait” of fiscal federalism in Switzerland and provide details that
make it possible to better understand interactions resulting from fiscal institutions. Following an introduction to the Swiss
political system, I will emphasize the allocat...
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