The Price Of Federalism / Edition 1

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In this timely book, Peterson examines which level of government should be responsible for the specific programs and recommends that more responsibility should be placed in the hands of the states and other localities.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An informative, even accessible, book that goes to the heart of the current talk about block grants, unfunded mandates, the deficit and more.... [A] valuable look at the bottom line of domestic politics" —Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Okay: this is beach reading only if you're a policy wonk. But that doesn't mean the average voter won't find it an informative, even accessible, book that goes to the heart of the current talk about block grants, unfunded mandates, the deficit and more. After a whirlwind overview of American federalism, Peterson offers two theories of the fiscal relationships between national and local governments. Functional theory posits that different levels of government are best suited to different kinds of funding: for the national government, that's redistributive programs (e.g., welfare, SSI), which it can apply evenly across the country; developmental programs (e.g., roads, buildings) are best left to local governments, which respond more efficiently to local needs. The cynical legislative theory suggests the opposite: the national government (read congressmen) will prefer to legislate popular development projects for constituents (aka pork) while leaving unpopular redistributive projects to the states. Peterson argues that if legislative theory best explains federalism from 1957 to 1977, functional theory is increasingly the norm now and should continue to be. On the one hand, pork is losing popularity, as functional theory says is best. Contrary to the theory's prescriptions, however, is the idea of giving states control over redistributive programs, which, Peterson says, will result in every state trying to cut welfare in order to discourage an influx of the poor. Yes, there are charts, but that's no excuse to shy away from this valuable look at the bottom line of domestic politics. $20,000 ad/promo. (July)
Peterson (government, Harvard U.) examines the rush to move responsibility for public services from the federal to the state governments from both a functional and legislative perspective. He agrees that transportation, education, and other economic development functions should devolve. But moving welfare to the states, he says, would simply kill it in no time: poor people would move to states with high benefits, so in self-protection every state would race to provide the least benefits. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815770237
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 5/22/1995
  • Series: Twentieth Century Books Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Lexile: 1430L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul E. Peterson is the Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard, the director of PEPG, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is author or editor of numerous books, including The Education Gap: Vouchers and Urban Schools, with William G. Howell (Brookings, 2004 and 2006). He is coeditor (with Martin West) of No Child Left Behind? The Practice and Politics of School Accountability (Brookings, 2003).

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Table of Contents

Pt. 1 Introduction
1 School Choice: A Report Card 3
2 The Case for Charter Schools 33
Pt. 2 School Choice and School Reform
3 Governance and Educational Quality 55
4 Civic Values in Public and Private Schools 83
5 Policy Churn and the Plight of Urban School Reform 107
Pt. 3 Public School Choice
6 Analyzing School Choice Reforms That Use America's Traditional Forms of Parental Choice 133
7 Interdistrict Choice in Massachusetts 157
8 Charter Schools as Seen by Students, Teachers, and Parents 187
9 The Performance of Privately Managed Schools: An Early Look at the Edison Project 213
10 Charter Schools: Politics and Practice in Four States 249
Pt. 4 Vouchers for Private Schools
11 Comparing Public Choice and Private Voucher Programs in San Antonio 275
12 Evidence from the Indianapolis Voucher Program 307
13 School Choice in Milwaukee: A Randomized Experiment 335
14 Lessons from the Cleveland Scholarship Program 357
Pt. 5 Constitutional Issues
15 Why Parents Should Choose 395
16 School Choice and State Constitutional Law 409
Contributors 429
Index 431
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