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This Article surveys intergovernmental institutions across federal states. Generally, these institutions offer meaningful cooperation for the different levels of government when addressing state problems. These institutions, however, often lack political authority to bind institutional members or implement authoritative state actions.

This Article proceeds in two general parts. First, this Article taxonomizes intergovernmental institutions across federal systems. Though few intergovernmental institutions are constitutionally mandated bodies, several federal states have enacted legislation to formalize these institutions while others simply utilize informal arrangements. This taxonomy will primarily discuss contemporary institutions within federal systems and focus exclusively on executive institutions. The taxonomy categorizes these institutions into two general categories based on the composition of the bodies: vertical and horizontal. Vertical institutions include members that are accountable to different levels of government while horizontal institutions are comprised of members responsible to the same level of government. Intergovernmental institutions will also be classified as either constitutional bodies, statutory bodies, or the result of formal and informal agreements. Second, this Article offers brief remarks on the effectiveness, transparency, and power of these institutions. Intergovernmental institutions wield nominal political authority, but intergovernmental institutions may nevertheless play an important role in federal states. Though these institutions offer benefits related to intergovernmental relations, intergovernmental institutions suffer from accountability, transparency, and logistical drawbacks.