Countries with a federal form of government responded in distinctive ways to the health and economic crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Constitutional INSIGHTS No.7 explores what can be learned from this experience about the purposes, design and operation of federations, including for the division and allocation of powers and fiscal resources; collaboration and cooperation between levels of government; and the challenges of democratic accountability. It builds on an earlier brief on Implementing Federalism (Constitutional INSIGHTS No.2) that examines some of these issues in a non-Covid context.


Publication date
15 September 2021
Cheryl Saunders.
Number of pages
Constitution Transformation Network
978-91-7671-463-8 (PDF)



1. What was distinctive about a federal form of government in dealing with the pandemic?

2. How did the federal division of powers work in dealing with the pandemic?

3. What was the impact of the distribution of fiscal resources?

4. What role did collaboration between levels of government play?

5. How effective was democratic accountability during the pandemic? 

6. What insights for the future can be drawn from these experiences?

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How Federations Responded to Covid-19

Constitutional INSIGHTS No. 7
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