Skip to main content

Federal, Unitary and Hybrid States

Go Search
New Atlas
Atlas, A-Z
Atlas Maps
MPP/MPA Programs
Core Topics
Illustrative Courses
Topic Encyclopedia
Concept Dictionary
Career Tips
Best Practices Project


A Teaching Topic in Global Context

Federal, Unitary and Hybrid States

This teaching topic examines the strategic similarities and differences between federal, unitary and hybrid states, including how these similarities and differences influence states’ approaches to strategy and planning.

Topic Learning Outcome: Students will be familiar with ongoing debates about the extent to which and ways in which the structure of particular states (federal, unitary or hybrid) influences their approach to strategy and planning.

Recommended Reading (University of Toronto PPG-2008)

Casey, Joseph and Koleski, Katherine, "Backgrounder: China’s 12th Five-Year Plan" US-China (Economic and Security Review Commission, 2011) at (accessed 23 February 2013). 

Australian Government, Australia in the Asian Century (Canberra: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2012), chapter 1-7. at (accessed 23 February 2013). 

Studin, Irvin, "Process Before Product : A New Federal-Provincial Logic for a New Century" Policy Options (September 2008) at (accessed 23 February 2013). 

Sample Assessment Questions:

1.) Some scholars of international relations have suggested that the structure of particular states (i.e. whether they are federal or unitary) has an influence on their likely approach to strategy and planning. Discuss these claims in a short 1-2 page pager, and explain why you do or do not find these claims to be persuasive.

2.) What is a federal state? Please provide an example. What is a hybrid union. Identify one jurisdiction that could be considered a hybrid union and explain why.

Page created by: Ian Clark and Ben Eisen, last updated 22 May 2015..

Important Notices
© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance