Intergovernmental Management for the 21st Century

Intergovernmental Management for the 21st Century

Timothy J. Conlan
Paul L. Posner
Foreword by Alice M. Rivlin
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 368
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  • Book Info
    Intergovernmental Management for the 21st Century
    Book Description:

    America's complex system of multi-layered government faces new challenges as a result of rapidly changing economic, technological, and demographic trends. An aging population, economic globalization, and homeland security concerns are among the powerful factors testing the system's capacity and flexibility. Major policy challenges and responses are now overwhelmingly intergovernmental in nature, and as a result, the fortunes of all levels of government are more intertwined and interdependent than ever before. This volume, cosponsored by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), defines an agenda for improving the performance of America's intergovernmental system. The early chapters present the current state of practice in intergovernmental relations, including discussion of trends toward centralization, devolution, and other power-sharing arrangements. The fiscal underpinnings of the system are analyzed, along with the long-term implications of current trends in financing at all levels. The authors identify the principal tools used to define intergovernmental management-grants, mandates, preemptions -in discussing emerging models and best practices in the design and management of those tools. Intergovernmental Management for the 21st Century applies these crosscutting themes to critical policy areas where intergovernmental management and cooperation are essential, such as homeland security, education, welfare, health care, and the environment. It concludes with an authoritative assessment of the system's capacity to govern, oversee, and improve. Contributors include Jocelyn Johnston (American University), Shelley Metzenbaum (University of Maryland), Richard Nathan (SUNY at Albany), Barry Rabe (University of Michigan), Beryl Radin (American University), Alice Rivlin (Brookings Institution), Ray Sheppach (National Governors Association), Frank Shafroth (George Mason University), Troy Smith (BYU-Hawaii), Carl Stenberg (University of North Carolina), Carol Weissert (Florida State University), Charles Wise (Indiana University), and Kenneth Wong (Brown University).

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0363-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Alice M. Rivlin

    In presidential campaigns, candidates of both parties wax eloquent about what they will do, if elected, to improve the public services that citizens most care about. They confidently assure voters that they will improve the performance of local schools, repair dangerous bridges, ensure low-income families access to effective health services, clean up pollution, reduce street crime, and respond rapidly to natural disasters and terrorist attacks. A listening voter might be forgiven for believing that, with the consent of Congress, a president has the power to deliver on these promises and implement the policies for which the voters have chosen him...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. 1 Introduction: Intergovernmental Management and the Challenges Ahead
    (pp. 1-10)

    The intergovernmental system in the United States faces emerging challenges ushered in by economic, technological, and demographic trends of the twenty-first-century. As the nation’s population ages, all levels of government will face new and more difficult fiscal choices that will test the capacity of our system to respond to emerging needs. At the same time, our institutional capacity to analyze these changes, to assess their implications for the intergovernmental system, and to craft sensible and effective policy responses has been diminishing. Particularly at the national level, an analytical infrastructure of executive branch entities, legislative subcommittees, and independent federal agencies that...

  6. PART I Framing the Intergovernmental Debate

    • 2 Updating Theories of American Federalism
      (pp. 13-25)

      Modern federalism was born in America.¹ Arguably, it was born of political necessity. It was not a bold new invention so much as what James Madison called a “composition,” taking into account the existence of thirteen colonies (now states) that were unlikely to look kindly at their abolition and replacement with a national government.² We cannot know what the founders’ motives were. Perhaps they liked this new blend whereby citizens are citizens of two governments, national and state. We can be pretty sure, however, that James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were more interested in unification than preservation—that is, more...

    • 3 Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Evolution of American Federalism
      (pp. 26-41)

      Metaphors have long been used as tools to help us think about the nature and evolution of federal systems.¹ Cake metaphors have been especially prominent, beginning with Morton Grodzins’ well-known comparisons of dual federalism to a layer cake and cooperative federalism to a marble cake.² Other varieties of baked goodies inevitably followed: fruitcake federalism in the 1970s, crumb-cake federalism in an era of declining federal aid, and upside-down-cake federalism in the era of No Child Left Behind.

      This smorgasbord of dessert metaphors has been inspired by the continuing evolution of the American federal system. Although many of these seem to...

    • 4 Intergovernmental Finance in the New Global Economy: An Integrated Approach
      (pp. 42-74)

      Technology, globalization, and demographic changes are all powerful forces that are driving major economic and social change in the United States. The nation has adapted to numerous changes over its more than 200-year history, but these three simultaneous changes will clearly challenge the nation. The current and future impacts on individuals and firms, as well as on sectors and regions, will be dramatic. The key question for U.S. governments at all levels is whether they will adapt quickly enough or will instead become a major impediment to economic growth and social justice.

      This chapter focuses primarily on the U.S. federal-state...

  7. PART II Testing the Intergovernmental System:: Issues and Challenges

    • 5 Developing a National Homeland Security System: An Urgent and Complex Task in Intergovernmental Relations
      (pp. 77-101)

      As the events of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina revealed, when a homeland security incident occurs, whether it is caused by terrorism or natural disaster, the government response at all levels must be coordinated and timely or thousands of people suffer. In both incidents, the lack of coordination and effective planning by the U.S. intergovernmental system was all too apparent. The nation’s governments are now attempting to remediate those deficiencies.

      As articulated by President George W. Bush in his Homeland Security Directive to all federal agencies, “The objective of the United States Government is to ensure that all levels of...

    • 6 Accountability and Innovation: New Directions in Education Policy and Management
      (pp. 102-123)

      On the fourth anniversary of the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), President George W. Bush declared that the federally led reform was making measurable progress. In response to congressional efforts to amend the legislation, including those from his own party, the president stated, “I’ll fight any attempt to do that. I’m just not going to let it happen. We’re making too much progress.”¹ Celebrating the occasion in a high-performing, predominantly minority school in suburban Baltimore, the president cited rising fourth-grade performance in reading and math as evidence that the law is working. This is in sharp...

    • 7 Welfare Reform: A Devolutionary Success?
      (pp. 124-156)

      In 1982 Helen Ladd and Fred Doolittle asked a fundamental American federalism question: Which level of government should assist the poor?¹ That essential question remains unanswered, in part because poverty programs in the United States reflect the structure, evolution, and ambiguity of our federal system.

      In the early years of the republic, providing relief to the poor was a local enterprise, based on the tradition of the Elizabethan poor laws. In tandem with other major intergovernmental events, poverty relief has moved through a long cycle of centralization spawned by the progressive movement of the early twentieth century and the policies...

    • 8 Medicaid Waivers: License to Shape the Future of Fiscal Federalism
      (pp. 157-175)

      Although the United States is not unique in having its health care paid for from a variety of sources, it stands alone among industrialized nations in having no systematic plan for coverage and no effective way to get control of costs. The United States also relies more heavily on private payment than other countries: public sources account for 44 percent of total spending here compared with an average of 72 percent for member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.¹ If all public employees whose insurance is paid by public funds are included, as well as costs of...

    • 9 Regionalism and Global Climate Change Policy: Revisiting Multistate Collaboration as an Intergovernmental Management Tool
      (pp. 176-206)

      Regional strategies have periodically been embraced as a method of intergovernmental management in the United States and other federal systems, a halfway house of sorts between concentrating authority at federal and state levels. As early as the 1920s, Felix Frankfurter and James Landis envisioned a burgeoning set of regional institutions to address problems that were demonstrably multistate in nature. “Our regions are realities,” they declared.¹ Analysts from other fields joined the regionalism chorus in subsequent periods, perhaps most notably sociologists in the 1930s and economists and planners in the 1960s.² More recently, the regional option continues to resurface, characterized in...

  8. PART III Issues of Governance in the Intergovernmental System

    • 10 From Oversight to Insight: Federal Agencies as Learning Leaders in the Information Age
      (pp. 209-242)

      Justice Louis Brandeis’s observation that “states are the laboratories of democracy” is frequently quoted.¹ Unfortunately, these ostensible laboratories too often lack scientists. Few study state and local experiments taking place across the country. Little attention is directed to documenting key details and distinguishing studies with positive from those with negative or no results. Few resources are devoted to writing up experimental findings, weeding out unsubstantiated conclusions, and distributing lessons to interested parties.

      Federal agencies that depend on other levels of government to accomplish their objectives need to play a much stronger role studying experiments in state and local laboratories of...

    • 11 Performance Management and Intergovernmental Relations
      (pp. 243-262)

      This chapter deals with two complex processes—performance management activities and intergovernmental relations management. Taken individually each of these processes demands attention to the trade-off between multiple values and goals. Combined, the two efforts create an overwhelmingly difficult and complex task. Because many federal programs involve intricate intergovernmental relationships, federal agencies have struggled with ways to structure these relationships. Federal agencies are balancing two competing imperatives. On one hand, they are attempting to hold third parties accountable for the use of the federal monies; on the other hand, they are constrained by political and legal realities that provide significant discretion...

    • 12 Block Grants and Devolution: A Future Tool?
      (pp. 263-285)

      Since the 1970s, American presidents have sought to reduce the size, increase the performance, and constrain the expenditures of federal domestic departments, agencies, and programs. Launched by both Republican and Democratic presidents, these efforts have had common themes: the national government was too large, and its elected and appointed officials were out of touch with grassroots needs and priorities; the federal bureaucracy was too powerful and prone to regulation; the United States Congress was too willing to preempt states and localities and to enact mandates without sufficient compensatory funding; the national government was too involved in domestic activities that were...

    • 13 Mandates: The Politics of Coercive Federalism
      (pp. 286-309)

      Over the past forty years, mandates and preemptions have become two of the primary tools relied on by Congress and the president to project national priorities and objectives throughout the intergovernmental system.¹ The trend toward the use of coercive tools has been durable and lasting, albeit punctuated by episodes of reform. Although the enactment of unfunded mandates reform in 1995 most certainly has led to some restraint, the underlying forces prompting national leaders to use these tools have proved to be persistent and compelling. These trends have so far resisted partisan changes, as both parties engage in the extensions of...

    • 14 Intergovernmental Lobbying: How Opportunistic Actors Create a Less Structured and Balanced Federal System
      (pp. 310-337)

      The distribution of power and responsibilities among the federal tiers of U.S. government has changed over time according to different constitutional interpretations and political practices. During America’s first century, state governments’ powers and responsibilities were protected by a dual-federalism interpretation of the Constitution. During the nation’s second century, state governments saw their power and responsibilities diluted as Congress and the Supreme Court reinterpreted the Constitution to promote collaboration between the state and national governments. In this, America’s third century, state governments have used political processes to preserve their powers and promote their interests, because they cannot rely on a constitutional...

    • 15 Conclusion: Managing Complex Problems in a Compound Republic
      (pp. 338-352)

      The chapters in this book illustrate that, as we enter the new century, our federal system remains a central vehicle used by national, state, and local officials to satisfy an ever-expanding range of needs and goals. Whether it be homeland security, health care, education, or environmental policy, national policymakers have increasingly turned to state and local governments as the critical workhorses. State and local governments have stepped up as well, mounting new initiatives to address health, safety, education, and infrastructure needs, much as they have done for decades.

      However, although the system is still expected to satisfy existing needs, the...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 353-354)
  10. Index
    (pp. 355-368)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 369-369)