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THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO SCHOOL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION PA 524, Summer 2009—Intergovernmental Administrative Problems Essentials of Federalism & IGR. Morris Bidjerano “The Metaphors of Federalism Revised: The Web and Intergovernmental Relations”.

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PA 524, Summer 2009—Intergovernmental Administrative Problems

Essentials of Federalism & IGR

morris bidjerano the metaphors of federalism revised the web and intergovernmental relations
Morris Bidjerano “The Metaphors of Federalism Revised: The Web and Intergovernmental Relations”
  • The paper considers the way intergovernmental relations are structured and carried out in practice, by proposing a metaphor suited to those relations today. From “layer-cake” and “marble-cake” to “picket-fence” federalism,” metaphors have been used to gain a better insight into the ever-changing nature of IGR over the last century (Deil Wright 1988).
  • Recent trends in governance practices have increasingly indicated substantially different structuring of intergovernmental operations, commonly described as “network management” (Agranoff and McGuire 1999, 1998).
  • Based on a case study conducted under the auspices of the University at Albany Intergovernmental Solutions Program, the paper examines the manifestation of these network management trends in the governmental response to the 1999 West Nile Virus outbreak in New York State. It uses the metaphor of the web to capture conceptually and help visualize the emergent characteristics of administrative practices in the federal system.
robert agranoff
Robert Agranoff
  • “The era of the manager’s cross-boundary interdependency challenge has arrived, as has the world of working in the network of organizations. Public functions are no longer the exclusive domain of governments.”

Types of Collaborative Management Activities:

  • Information Sharing
  • Adjustment Seeking
  • Policy making and strategy making
  • Resource Exchange
  • Project Based
  • “. . . the capacities required to operate successfully in collaborative settings are different from the capacities needed to succeed at managing a single organization
intergovernmental administrative problems overview of federalism and intergovernmental relations
Intergovernmental Administrative Problems—Overview of Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
  • Federalism is a constitutional division of governmental authority between a national government and regional entities such as states. National and state governments have both independent and shared powers over against citizens and over given functional policy and programmatic areas. Relatively few nations today have federal governments. They include the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Mexico.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • In the U.S., the courts have arbitrated the allocation of power among federal, state, and local governments since the early 19th Century. The term intergovernmental relations, or IGR, has been used only since the early 1930’s. IGR is characterized by mostly informal, continuous contacts between officials at different levels of government who share or exchange information and agree on the terms of sharing of program, policy, and/or regulatory jurisdiction. The program and regulatory frameworks are defined in policy and law, but the implementation framework is characterized by less formal, networked patterns of communication and collaboration. Officials involved in IGR are elected, appointed, and administrative officials, in any combination.
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Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • The doctrine of supremacy means that when laws passed by a lower level of government conflict with those at a higher level of government, the higher-level law supersedes the lower-level one. The order of succession with regard to such supremacy in the U.S. is first the Constitution itself, then the national government, the states, counties and parishes (in Louisiana), and finally, municipalities. Homeland Security is a policy instance where supremacy is crucially operative. The U.S. Constitution includes a “Supremacy Clause” indicating, reflexively, that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations2
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • Fiscal federalism, or the federalism of intergovernmental fiscal transfers, has become more and more important over the past forty years. Local governments, which rely primarily on inelastic sources of revenue such as property taxes, are the least efficient at generating revenue. At the same time, cities and counties are the units of government most relied upon to provide basic services to the public. A large proportion of the citizenry depends on government paychecks, contracts, or entitlement programs. The national government is most efficient at generating revenues, with the fewest direct service responsibilities. This fiscal mismatch of revenues and expenditures has led to increasing intergovernmental transfers, increased importance of fiscal federalism, and increased indirect control by the national government of state and local affairs.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations3
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • The two major forms of funding from the federal government to other governments come in the form of grants-in-aid and block grants. Grants-in-aid are fiscal transfers to be used for specified purposes and subject to conditions spelled out in law or regulation. Categorical and formula grants provide less administrative discretion, both in terms of who is to receive funding and how much, because of their prescriptive nature and strict eligibility criteria. Project grants provide more administrative discretion, and state and local governments must apply to receive these forms of assistance. Block grants provide state governments the greatest spending and policy flexibility.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations4
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • Dual federalism represents government as layers that do not interact. This layer cake analogy of federalism was the state of affairs in the early history of the United States. IGR then evolved to marble cake federalism, where each layer had separate concerns, but they were still interrelated. Today's federalism is described as picket-fence federalism. Under the picket fence analogy, money, authority, and subject-matter expertise and networks of collaboration run vertically along programs from national to state and local levels of government, while the legislative and executive branches of government, the horizontal “slats,” do little to support the vertical slats, or programs. Deil Wright brought focus to the interpersonal relationships of experts and practitioners along vertical slats, for instance environmental policy experts and practitioners. Similar or shared educational backgrounds, shared values and current experiences (e.g., conferences), rotation among levels of government and between advocacy groups and government.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations5
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • IGR issues historically include (1) the use of the promulgation of regulations by federal administrative agencies as a vehicle for intergovernmental control, (2) continuing fiscal constraints on all levels of government, (3) continuing incidence of intergovernmental conflict between national and state governments, (4) changes in administrative autonomy at all levels of government, (5) renewed calls for maintaining and increasing government accountability in the federal system, and increasingly in state governments as well, and (6) unfunded mandates.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations6
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • Richard Nixon undertook to change intergovernmental relations by trying to shift power away from Washington to federal field offices and state and local governments. Revenue sharing gave money to state and local governments, to be spent at their own discretion. Some categorical grants—money given to state or local governments for specific purposes, such as construction of a road or school—were replaced with block grants, which mandated that money be spent for a general purpose but left the details of allocation to state and local governments. Beginning in the early 1970’s, administrative reforms were pushed to simplify and expedite the grant application and review process. Federal government spending and its policy role actually grew under Nixon.
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Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • Ronald Reagan expanded Nixon’s “New Federalism,” on the premise that the federal government had become too strong and that power should be further shifted to the states. Reagan proposed shifting more categorical grants into block grants, shifting power back to the states, and breaking the “marble cake” form of federalism (the model of cooperative federalism, or overlapping authority, where the federal government had, on balance, a greater say in matters that had previously been reserved to the states but where the implementation of programs had become inseparably entwined). Reagan also proposed reducing the burden of unfunded mandates. His successes came in converting categoricals to blocks, and in cutting red tape in certain areas; however, unfunded mandates continued to grow during his terms in office.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations8
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • While “new federalism” initiatives have been the hallmark of Republican administrations, neither of the Bush presidential administrations emphasized restructuring federal-state relations. They did stress, however, the need (as they saw it) to reduce the size and scope of government, particularly the federal government. Ironically, under the younger Bush’s terms in office, the “war on terror” and corresponding initiatives such as the Patriot Act dramatically increased both the scope and reach of federal power, over individual citizens and state and local governments alike.
overview of federalism intergovernmental relations9
Overview of Federalism & Intergovernmental Relations
  • Historically, wars—from the Civil War to the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the first and second Iraq wars, and contemporary antiterrorism conflicts—have all strengthened the Executive and established the preponderance of power of the federal government over state and local governments. As the federal government continues to gain ascendancy, the states are less able to determine what works for them or how best to allocate scarce resources; they are therefore often relegated to implementing and administering federal policy, and to reporting outcomes to federal agencies. Nonetheless, some states have taken an important role as policy innovation laboratories of sorts—for example, the State of New Mexico in its 2005 privatization of the management of behavioral healthcare.
models of intergovernmental relations deil wright
Models of Intergovernmental Relations (Deil Wright)
  • There are three generic types of authority relationships in American Intergovernmental Relations (IGR):

1. The Coordinate Authority Model (Autonomy)

  • State-local relationship framework or pattern, classic expression in Dillon’s Rule, named after the Iowa judge who asserted it in the 1860’s:
  • There is no recognition of a common-law right of self-government
  • localities are “creatures of the state”
  • localities may exercise only those powers expressly granted them by state and federal governments
  • localities are in effect “tenants at will” of state legislatures
models of intergovernmental relations deil wright1
Models of Intergovernmental Relations (Deil Wright)
  • In a dual, or coordinate system, the separate levels of government have distinct, autonomous spheres of authority. (In unitary, centralized or national systems, states are subordinate to the national government and the relationship is hierarchical—e.g., Mexico.

2. Inclusive Authority Model: Centralized Federalism (Hierarchy)

  • State and local governments and policymakers are dependent on national decisions—they may tend to atrophy in some instances.
  • Functions formerly performed by states are fused into hierarchical system and preempted or appropriated by the federal government
  • Also applies Dillon’s rule to national-state relations, but it is not any more representative of intergovernmental relations than the Coordinate Authority model. If IGR is a zero-sum game, then gain at one level equals loss at another. However, Wright argues, it is often a nonconstant-sum (win-win) game.
models of intergovernmental relations deil wright2
Models of Intergovernmental Relations (Deil Wright)

Compound” systems entail overlapping, interdependent governments and are characterized by bargaining: cooperative or competitive. That is Wright’s preferred model, for being closest to reality in his view:

Overlapping Authority Model (Bargaining)

  • Limited and dispersed power
  • Modest and uncertain areas of autonomy
  • High degree of potential or actual interdependence
  • Simultaneous cooperation and competition
  • Bargaining and exchange relationships are authority pattern
  • Negotiation as a strategy to reach agreement on boundaries
inclusive authority model
Inclusive Authority Model

National (Federal)



overlapping authority bargaining model
Overlapping Authority (Bargaining) Model