How do leaders in a federation make important decisions? Whose interests should be paramount: those of the state or the federal government? What are the costs and benefits of symmetrical and asymmetrical federalism? These are some of the questions explored in The Art of Negotiation.
This book sets up a game or simulation intended to help students understand the role of negotiation in intergovernmental relations. The setting is the fictional country of Holden. Participants role-play first ministers and other ministers at an intergovernmental conference. They learn how federal states manage such issues as the competing and conflicting demands of cultural and linguistic protection for minorities, the appropriate distribution of economic wealth among its states, and the accommodations that need to be made when a country engages in more liberalized trade with its neighbours.
Though « Holden » is not real, the problems discussed in this book are ones faced by virtually all federal countries: issues of language, fiscal equality, cultural protection of minorities, and the appropriate balance of power between central and provincial or state governments.