A composite or conglomerate state that consists of several regional governments with a common central government, and in which both regional and central governments each have their own spheres of policy making in which their decisions are normally presumed to be final. The powers of the regional and central governments are almost invariably spelled out in detail in a written constitution, which also normally specifies procedures to be followed for resolving conflicts between the two kinds of government (often by some process of judicial review). Generally in a federation both central and regional governments will possess taxing and enforcement powers over the citizenry and therefore both will maintain their own bureaucratic and police organizations to carry out these powers.

[See also: state, confederation, empire, bureaucracy, bureaucratic politics]