All case studies are based on common terms of reference in order to ensure comparability. The expected length for most cases, including references, is approximately 12,000 words. Even though the suggested structure should be followed as closely as possible, it has to be recognized that certain topics of the structure may be relevant in some cases, but not or to a lesser degree in others. This is in part but not exclusively the result of the different character of territorial and non-territorial autonomy arrangements. In conclusion, we aim to place a strong emphasis on a common structure. But at the same time, authors shall have sufficient leeway to consider the specific circumstances of their respective cases.

1.     Essential Facts and Figures

  • Ethno-demographic, socio-demographic and ethno-geographic data

  • Economic, cultural, political and historical features of the state which are relevant for the emergence and development of the autonomy arrangement

  • Language policies and educational policies

2.     Autonomy and State Structure

  • Territorial and/or non-territorial autonomy

  • Autonomy embedded in unitary, regionalized or federal state structure

  • Symmetrical or asymmetrical state structure through either equal or differentiated powers of autonomous entities

3.     Establishment and Implementation of Autonomy

  • Historical context of establishing autonomy (e.g. preceding violent conflict, decolonization, democratization)

  • Role of the kin-state and other international actors as well as of internal actors such as parties and political movements

  • Legitimacy of autonomy arrangements ensured by constituent assembly or referendum

  • Problems in the process of implementing the autonomy arrangement

4.     Legal Basis of Autonomy

  • Entrenchment of autonomy in international law and/or domestic law (in national or subnational constitutions, statutes or other law)

  • Procedures to amend the above-mentioned legal bases rigid or flexible and with or without involvement of the autonomous entity concerned

5.     Autonomous Institutions

  • Composition of autonomous institutions in terms of legislature, executive and judiciary (e.g. electoral system, appointment rules)

  • Decision-making procedures of these institutions (e.g. veto rights)

6.     Autonomous Powers

  • Distribution of legislative powers (e.g. scope of subjective matters, requirement of approval by central government, exclusive, concurrent or secondary legislation within the limits of framework laws)

  • Allocation of executive powers (e.g. autonomy concerning the implementation of laws or tight supervision by the central government)

  • Powers regarding external relations (e.g. cross-border cooperation, representative offices abroad, involvement in the creation and implementation of international and, if applicable, supranational law)

7.     Financial Arrangements

  • Taxation powers

  • Financial transfers from the central government (e.g. conditional or unconditional transfers, fiscal equalization mechanism)

  • Spending autonomy

8.     Intergovernmental Relations

  • Conflict management and arbitration mechanisms between the autonomous entity and the central government (e.g. international organizations)

  • Legal remedies for violations of the autonomy arrangement and its implementation both at the domestic and international level

  • Representation of the autonomous entity at the central government level (e.g. inclusion through power-sharing in the executive and legislature) and vice versa (e.g. appointed governor)

9.     Inter-group Relations within the Autonomous Entity

  • Impact of autonomy on political, economic and social relations between different groups within the autonomous entity (e.g. integration or segregation, support for autonomy among different groups)

  • Recognition of internal diversity through power-sharing within the autonomous entity (e.g. inclusion of different groups in autonomous institutions)

  • Security and human rights dimensions of inter-group relations 

10.    Membership, "Quasi-citizenship" and Special Rights

  • In case of territorial autonomy "regional quasi-citizenship" through the assignment of special rights to individuals on a territorial basis

  • In case of non-territorial autonomy mode of defining membership and thus the access to special rights on a non-territorial basis

11.    General Assessment and Outlook



© 2016 Autonomy Arrangements in the World