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Showing papers in "Publius-the Journal of Federalism in 2016"


Journal ArticleDOI
Patrick McGuinn1
TL;DR: The legacy of the Obama education agenda has been analyzed in this article, focusing on the implications for American federalism and the role of the states in education, and the impact of the federal role in K-12 education.
Abstract: This article offers an analysis of the legacy of the Obama Administration’s education agenda, focusing on implications for American federalism. Faced with partisan gridlock in Congress—which was not able to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) until the last year in office—the Obama Administration opted to make education policy through creative, expansive, and controversial uses of executive power that changed the national political discourse around education and pushed states to enact important policy changes regarding charter schools, common core standards and assessments, and teacher evaluation. The administration’s aggressive efforts on school reform, however, eventually led to a political backlash against those same reforms and federal involvement in education more generally and resulted in an ESEA reauthorization (the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act) that rolls back the federal role in K-12 schooling in important ways. One of the enduring legacies of the Obama presidency may well be the invigoration and expansion of the state role in education.

99 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Clean Power Plan as discussed by the authors is an example of the use of the administrative presidency to achieve environmental goals in the absence of federal policy, with episodes of both policy innovation and retrenchment, which may signal an evolving intergovernmental partnership in environmental policy.
Abstract: Environmental policy is a central piece of President Obama’s domestic policy agenda. Congressional gridlock, however, has frequently compelled the Obama Administration to turn to the tools of the administrative presidency to achieve its goals. While executive authority has enabled the President to pursue a relatively ambitious environmental agenda, it has often engendered conflict with Congress, industry, and some states. High levels of intergovernmental conflict have plagued the Obama Administration in several areas of environmental policy, including investment in renewable energy, Environmental Protection Agency regulations on air pollution, and executive actions to manage public lands. And, for their part, states have continued to pursue their own policy goals in the absence of federal policy, with episodes of both policy innovation and retrenchment. Although President Obama’s approach continues a trend of presidents primarily using the tools of the administrative presidency, the President’s signature climate change policy, the Clean Power Plan, may signal an evolving intergovernmental partnership in environmental policy.

41 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the Linz-Moreno question is used to measure national and regional identity in political science, and three different assumptions that the indicator relies upon: linearity, intensity, and the meaning of the role of the central category.
Abstract: In this research note we delve into the Linz-Moreno question—one of the most employed measures of national and regional identity in political science—by analzsing three different assumptions that the indicator relies upon: First, we test whether this instrument captures a negative linear trend between identities. Second, we examine whether the Linz-Moreno question also captures identity intensity. Third, we focus on the middle-identity category and examine whether it encapsulates people’s dual sense of belonging where there are two different national identities. Using data from the Making Electoral Democracy Work Project for the Spanish/Catalan case, we show that the Linz-Moreno question meets the assumptions of linearity, intensity, and the meaning of the role of the central category when capturing Catalan identity feelings. However, it fails to capture Spanish identity intensity and preferences, which over-represents the dual-identity middle category. Our empirical findings have crucial consequences for researchers working in the field of national/regional identities.

38 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors examines the growing impact of partisan polarization on intergovernmental relations under the Obama Administration and discusses the increased federal tolerance of state diversity in federal intergovernmental programs, highlighting the paradoxical outgrowth of what President Obama once hoped would become a new nationalism.
Abstract: This article examines the growing impact of partisan polarization on intergovernmental relations under the Obama Administration. Increasingly, red and blue states have taken different trajectories in implementing Obama Administration policies, with resistance from many conservative state leaders and enthusiasm from Democrats. To manage these challenges, the Administration has turned to an array of old and new tools for accommodating territorial variations in politics and policy: opt outs for reluctant or resistant states, accommodation for states that wish to go beyond federal standards, aggressive use of waivers, and so forth. This “variable speed federalism” model—marked by increasingly diverse patterns of state implementation of national policies—has been the paradoxical outgrowth of what President Obama once hoped would become a “new nationalism.” This article explores these themes in more detail, briefly recapping the principal domestic accomplishments of the Obama Administration, examining emerging patterns of intergovernmental relations, and discussing the increased federal tolerance of state diversity in federal intergovernmental programs.

32 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examine the evolution and performance of drought adaptation in the Rio Grande/Bravo river basin of the United States and Mexico, two federal countries, and identify the importance of joint monitoring as a vital new form of safeguard.
Abstract: We extend Bednar’s theory of a robust federation to examine the factors and institutions influencing the effectiveness of transboundary water governance in an international river basin. We examine the evolution and performance of drought adaptation in the Rio Grande/Bravo river basin of the United States and Mexico—two federal countries. Droughts and water shortages since 1990 have triggered opportunistic behavior by resource users and their governments. Analysis of case studies in three nested geographic contexts (internationally, interstate United States and interstate Mexico) generates evidence of opportunistic behavior and either limited or disputed compliance both internationally and within each country. Structural safeguards have stipulated powers and functions for water allocation and conflict resolution in all three settings, but roles and responsibilities are not clear during droughts. The limitations of structural, popular, and judicial safeguards have elevated the importance of joint monitoring, which we identify as a vital new form of safeguard.

27 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors examine empirically the viability of institutional alternatives to ethnofederalism and show that in the majority of cases, such institutional alternatives have succeeded where other institutional forms have demonstrably failed.
Abstract: The use of ethnofederalism as an institutional means of managing ethnic problems remains controversial. For critics, it is an imprudent institutional choice that hardens and deepens ethnic divisions and all but guarantees secession and state collapse. To dismiss ethnofederalism as an imprudent choice, however, is to imply that alternative institutions exist that are both feasible to implement and that would plausibly succeed where ethnofederalism fails. To date, critics have struggled to make a convincing case on either point. This article examines empirically the viability of institutional alternatives to ethnofederalism. Based on data drawn from post 1945 and using a “same-system” comparative design, the results indicate that where ethnofederal systems have failed, they have generally failed in contexts where no institutional alternatives could plausibly have succeeded, and that in the majority of cases, ethnofederalism has succeeded where other institutional forms have demonstrably failed.

23 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors argue that the state role in shaping federal regulation raises the possibility that states are both aggrandizing and checking presidential power and explore tools by which the President works with the states, discuss implications for federalism, the separation of powers and partisan polarization.
Abstract: Current accounts portray President Obama’s tenure as dominated by executive policymaking and vigorous challenges from the states. We argue that such accounts overlook how federal–state collaboration has been critical to achieving Obama Administration ends. Partisan polarization has gridlocked Congress and made the President dependent on the states to advance his central policy initiatives. As a result, these initiatives are both more responsive to state demands and more bipartisan than they might appear. After exploring tools by which the President works with the states, we discuss implications for federalism, the separation of powers, and partisan polarization. In particular, the state role in shaping federal regulation raises the possibility that states are both aggrandizing and checking presidential power.

22 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This article explored how support for devolution varies across time and individuals, and found that people are not strictly partisan in how they think about devolution, while people are more likely to favor decentralization when the President is of the opposing party.
Abstract: Why do people call for states’ rights and the devolution of national authority? Are they driven by partisan motives, where they like devolution the most when the President is of the opposing party? Or are calls to shift the balance of federal power rooted in sincere support for decentralized political authority? Using survey data from 1987 to 2012, I explore how support for devolution varies across time and individuals. I find that people are not strictly partisan in how they think about devolution. While people are more likely to favor decentralization when the President is of the opposing party, they are no more likely to want devolution when their own party controls state government. Substantive considerations are also important, where those who support limited government increasingly favor the devolution of central authority as the size of the national government increases relative to the size of state and local government.

17 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors compared public perceptions of the performance of federalism with respect to system characteristics and people's feelings about regional equity and subordination and examined institutional, social, and demographic factors plausibly related to those perceptions.
Abstract: Regional equity and subordination are paramount issues in federal systems. Based on surveys of public attitudes in Canada, Germany, Spain, and the United States, we compare public perceptions of the performance of federalism with respect to system characteristics and people’s feelings about regional equity and subordination. We also examine institutional, social, and demographic factors plausibly related to those perceptions. These factors are found to be weakly or not at all associated with citizen evaluations and perceptions of regional equity and subordination. Instead, in all countries, public trust in the various orders of government, especially the federation government, is most associated with perceptions of regional equity and regional subordination. However, the nature of the interactive effect of these trust measures differs significantly in terms of impacts on the evaluative dimensions.

14 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The analysis provides evidence that the Affordable Care Act’s goals of increased enrollment in health insurance and affordable premiums are influenced by state government decisions on the extent of state involvement in health exchanges and Medicaid expansion.
Abstract: Intense partisan conflict characterized the Affordable Care Act’s passage and continues to influence its implementation. The Act granted state officials significant discretionary authority over the implementation of health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion. Decisions by state officials vary from full state involvement to partial involvement to refusal to administer a state health exchange or expand Medicaid. The federal government administers a health exchange in those states choosing not to operate an exchange. The article examines whether variation in state program choices affects citizen decisions to enroll in an exchange. Also examined is whether health insurance premiums vary by which level of government administers the exchange. The analysis provides evidence that the Act’s goals of increased enrollment in health insurance and affordable premiums are influenced by state government decisions on the extent of state involvement in health exchanges and Medicaid expansion.

13 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Jason Sorens1
TL;DR: The authors argues that preventing secession can require fiscally deleterious institutions, beyond the well-known device of "fiscal appeasement," central governments facing potential secessionist challenges try to hamstring regional tax collection and permit regional protectionism against goods and labor.
Abstract: Why is fiscal federalism so often dysfunctional from an economic point of view? Particularly in the developing world, fiscally decentralized systems often lack hard budget constraints and an open, common market. This article argues that preventing secession can require fiscally deleterious institutions. Beyond the well-known device of “fiscal appeasement,” central governments facing potential secessionist challenges try to hamstring regional tax collection and permit regional protectionism against goods and labor. While ethnic diversity has helped to preserve relatively robust forms of fiscal federalism in Canada and Switzerland, it has had the contrary effect in developing countries. Even among Western democracies, those governments unwilling to countenance secession are less likely to respond to secessionist challenges by decentralizing taxation powers. The political logic of decentralization may stymie efforts to reform decentralized institutions along the lines recommended by economists and the multilateral lending institutions.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examine the extent to which parties and features of subnational constitutions impact the number of constitutional amendments in the German Land constitutions and conclude that theories trying to explain subnational constitutional amendments need to combine institutional and actor-centered approaches.
Abstract: In this article, we try to explain why some German Land constitutions are changed more frequently than others. Notably, we consider three arguments: first, we point out that subnational constitutional politics are an important, permanent, and salient issue in the German Lander. Second, we examine the extent to which parties and features of subnational constitutions impact the number of constitutional amendments in the German Lander. The analysis shows that both institutional and party factors partially explain the policy variation. Third, based on these findings, we conclude that theories trying to explain subnational constitutional amendments need to combine institutional and actor-centered approaches. Furthermore, German consensus democracy seems to work in a specific way at the Lander level.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the extent to which cost-shifting takes place in a multitiered welfare state depends on the degree of fiscal centralization, and they expect cost shifting to be more prevalent in federal countries where the constituent units have strong fiscal autonomy.
Abstract: In this article, we analyze if and how different levels of government off-load clients onto other welfare state programs that are not under their financial responsibility. We hypothesize that the extent to which cost-shifting takes place in a multitiered welfare state depends on the degree of fiscal centralization, and we expect cost-shifting to be more prevalent in federal countries where the constituent units have strong fiscal autonomy. In order to empirically examine this claim, we compare Germany and Switzerland, two federal countries that differ considerably in matters of fiscal centralization. Empirically, we find that in fact cost-shifting occurred irrespective of the degree of fiscal centralization. However, there are differences in how the two countries reacted to cost-shifting practices. Fiscally centralized Germany has been more successful in limiting cost-shifting practices than decentralized Switzerland. By connecting the literature on social policy and fiscal federalism, the article contributes to a broader understanding of the functioning of multitiered welfare states.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The Roberts Court saw a number of important advances for judicial enforcement of federalism-based limits on congressional power, both in high-profile cases such as NFIB v. Sebelius, and lesser known ones.
Abstract: The Roberts Court saw a number of important advances for judicial enforcement of federalism-based limits on congressional power, both in high-profile cases such as NFIB v. Sebelius, and lesser known ones. Much of this progress fits the conventional model of federalism as a left–right ideological issue on the Court, which divides liberal Democrats from conservative Republicans. But some noteworthy developments depart from this framework, and suggest greater openness to federalism among some on the left.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the main factors that affect the allocation of non-earmarked federal funds to subnational units in Argentina between 1999 and 2009 were studied. And the main contribution is that it brings presidential popularity together with presidential structural and partisan preferences for distribution into the analysis.
Abstract: This article studies the main factors that affect the allocation of non-earmarked federal funds to subnational units in Argentina between 1999 and 2009. The main contribution is that it brings presidential popularity together with presidential structural and partisan preferences for distribution into the analysis. It argues that electorally strong and popular presidents tend to increase transfers to developing districts and reduce allocations to richer districts. Investing in developing provinces is more efficient, and governors from these districts tend to support redistributive presidents and be weaker political challengers than governors from richer units. In contrast, weaker presidents are less capable of resisting pressures from governors from larger and richer districts. There is also more distribution to developing regions when presidents have a larger share of partisan allies there and fewer in richer states. The article discusses these results, compares them with competitive claims, and explores implications for the comparative debate.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors describes how partisan actors during the Obama years have escalated polarization by transforming policy disputes into constitutional contests over the ground rules of the federal system, moreover, in which one bloc of politically like-minded states opposes another.
Abstract: This article describes how partisan actors during the Obama years have escalated polarization by transforming policy disputes into constitutional contests over the ground rules of the federal system—contests, moreover, in which one bloc of politically like-minded states opposes another. The article examines in particular how Republicans have supported strong claims of state sovereignty, and in some cases resurrected the antebellum doctrine of nullification, to deny to either Congress or the executive branch the authority to reform state health care markets or to limit states’ emissions of greenhouse gases. Democrats have reinforced the partisan divide by declining to debate the constitutionality of their policies, instead invoking supposedly settled judicial precedent; and by enabling President Obama to create new federal policy through direct negotiation with like-minded states, thus circumventing congressional obstruction. Ironically, both parties appear willing to shrink the power and authority of an already diminished Congress, a development with unsettling implications for the future.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigate how the broader policy-making environment facilitates and constrains AG amicus brief initiation and joining and find that initiation is predicted by institutional resources; whereas joining is the product of legal case facts and institutional resources.
Abstract: State attorneys general, situated at the intersection of the state and federal governments, are increasingly the subject of scholarly inquiry. Yet, little work examines what prompts them to participate as amici. The decision to participate as amici reveals important information about how state actors attempt to shape outcomes at the federal level. We investigate how the broader policy-making environment facilitates and constrains AG amicus brief initiation and joining. Analyzing all orally argued Fourth Amendment cases from 1970 to 2009, we find the characteristics of the policy-making environment shape AG amicus activity. Initiation is predicted by institutional resources; whereas joining is the product of legal case facts and institutional resources. Because prior research notes larger attorney general coalitions are more successful, we highlight the complexity of amicus participation by state actors and speak to the conditions under which state actors can mobilize large coalitions to shape federal search and seizure case law.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors show that both parties systematically vary in their use of preemption and that both sides use preemption to advance partisan political goals, but they do so in dramatically different ways and for vastly different political goals.
Abstract: Federal preemption by both parties has risen dramatically since the 1960s. Scholars note that Democrats and Republicans routinely employ preemption to advance partisan political goals, but we know very little about how each party uses this tool of federal power. Are policymakers from both parties employing preemption in similar ways, or do strategic partisan differences exist? Using an original dataset, we show that Democrats and Republicans systematically vary in their use of preemption. Democrats put forward preemption legislation that maximizes regulation by mandating a floor of protection across the states, particularly for policies that promote consumer protection and expand civil rights. In contrast, Republicans enact preemptions that cap regulation by utilizing ceilings that curtail the states’ ability to regulate, particularly for business and commerce policy. Ultimately, both parties have enhanced federal power and limited state authority, but they do so in dramatically different ways and for vastly different political goals.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, contextual and individual factors help to raise or lower the voters' awareness of their regional government, affecting the scale of considerations (national or regional) they use to cast their votes at regional elections, finding that voters' decisions are more autonomous from national politics among the more politically sophisticated voters, among those who have stronger feelings of attachment to their region, and in those contexts in which the regional incumbent party is different from the national one.
Abstract: Vote choice in regional elections is commonly explained as dependent on national politics and occasionally as an autonomous decision driven by region-specific factors. However, few arguments and little evidence have been provided regarding the determinants that drive voters’ choices to one end or the other of this dependency–autonomy continuum. In this article, we claim that contextual and individual factors help to raise (or lower) the voters’ awareness of their regional government, affecting the scale of considerations (national or regional) they use to cast their votes at regional elections. Using survey data from regional elections in Spain, we find that voters’ decisions are more autonomous from national politics among the more politically sophisticated voters, among those who have stronger feelings of attachment to their region, and in those contexts in which the regional incumbent party is different from the national one.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a historical institutionalist analysis is presented to explain how substate governments engage and interact in international cultural relations, highlighting the strengths of Lecours' framework with its emphasis on the multilevel institutional structures and structure-agency dynamic conditioning substate diplomacy.
Abstract: Despite the rise of substates as international actors, theoretically informed frameworks lag behind the expansion in substate diplomacy. Dedicated attention to the cultural dimensions of their international activity has also been limited. Based on examining the case study of Wales, this article advances a historical institutionalist analysis to explain how substate governments engage and interact in international cultural relations. It highlights the strengths of Lecours’ framework with its emphasis on the multilevel institutional structures and structure-agency dynamic conditioning substate diplomacy. The article adapts and updates the framework and offers an expanded historical institutionalist analysis by pointing to the value of understanding longer-term institutional and policy contexts and the need for greater attention to the role of ideas in explanations of substate diplomacy. On this basis, the article makes the case for the broader applicability of this historical institutionalist approach to analyzing substate diplomacy in other cases in both federal and regionalized states.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examine individual preferences toward the vertical distribution of authority in Brazil by means of a representative national survey and find that territorial identity does not play a role in determining preferences, whereas socioeconomic status and within-regions inequality do matter, suggesting that Brazil is a type of federation where a dual identity (belonging to one's region and the national state) prevails as well as within-and cross-region inequality.
Abstract: This article examines individual preferences toward the vertical distribution of authority in Brazil by means of a representative national survey. We propose an original methodology to tackle two challenges the current literature faces: the effects of multipolarity over voters’ preferences and the conflation of two concepts—"wishes for change" and "preferences over the architecture of the state—both concerning attitudes toward the vertical distribution of authority. We test various theories concerning the importance of territorial identity, socio-demographic factors, and geography of income in determining individual preferences regarding vertical distribution of authority. We find that in Brazil territorial identity does not play a role in determining preferences, whereas socioeconomic status and within-regions inequality do matter, suggesting that Brazil is a type of federation where a dual identity (belonging to one’s region and the national state) prevails as well as within- and cross-region inequality.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examine early state experimentation with methods of choosing presidential electors, at a time when several prominent founders viewed the district system as the most principled method and the general ticket system grew in popularity.
Abstract: This article contributes to our understanding of the development of the federal aspect of the Electoral College by analyzing how and why states adopted the general ticket method currently used by all but two states. I examine early state experimentation with methods of choosing presidential electors, at a time when several prominent founders viewed the district system as the most principled method. I also focus on developments after the 1824 election, when Congress rejected a constitutional amendment requiring states to adopt the district system and the general ticket system grew in popularity. I show that it was in the course of these debates in the 1820s that the general ticket system acquired a new principled defense: that it best represented state majorities in the presidential selection process. This analysis enhances our understanding of one of the political safeguards of federalism, by explaining the entrenchment of state authority over the mode of choosing electors as well as adoption and justification of the general ticket system.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the relative influence of elites and the masses in prompting two movements for new administrative units in Nigeria (for Bayelsa and Ekiti states) was disentangled.
Abstract: Many countries, especially in Africa, have increased their subnational administrative units in recent years. Researchers point to marginalized ethnic groups as a key force behind administrative subdivision. This article seeks to disentangle the relative influence of elites and the masses in prompting two movements for new administrative units in Nigeria (for Bayelsa and Ekiti states). I find that elites generated the movements, but not simply by mobilizing co-ethnics around an enduring identity. Rather, political entrepreneurs reconfigured ethnic boundaries and infused latent identities with new significance. They found ethnic appeals to be expedient for political mobilization. This finding cautions against interpreting ethnic mobilization for new districts as cultural groundswells. Overall, this article contributes to the emerging debate over the sources of demand for new administrative units in the developing world.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors consider the possibility that subnational authoritarian regimes may continue to exist for different reasons and discuss the causes that may lead to the breakdown of a subnational dictatorship.
Abstract: Research on subnational authoritarianism in democratic countries has gained momentum over the past decade. Most existing studies aim at explaining why and how local strongmen managed to survive in some but not other subnational jurisdictions despite a democratization of politics at the national level. Focusing on subnational variance in democratization as well as trying to understand regime continuity, existing studies rarely consider the possibility that subnational authoritarian regimes may continue to exist for different reasons. Available research also does not say much about what causes may lead to the breakdown of subnational authoritarian regimes. Two new books address these gaps in the current literature on subnational authoritarianism.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors investigated representative dynamics on the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), with a particular focus on Quebec and federalism, and argued that among SCC justices from Quebec there are different understandings of what it means to act as a representative.
Abstract: This article investigates representative dynamics on the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC), with a particular focus on Quebec and federalism. There are two objectives: (1) describing the principal ways that SCC justices can be framed as representatives for Quebec; and, (2) investigating whether justices subscribe to any particular representative role. The analysis focuses on four factors that shape the perception of SCC justices as representatives for Quebec: the competing normative positions related to the nature of the Canadian federation and the ideal judicial role in a liberal democracy, along with the institutional features of the Court related to the appointment process and bijuralism. Through a review of public statements by justices and key decisions that are critically important to Quebec’s place in the federation, the article argues that among SCC justices from Quebec there are different understandings of what it means to act as a representative.