Delegation, collaborative governance, and nondistributive policy: The curious case of joint partnerships in american federalism

Anthony Michael Bertelli, Pamela J.Clouser McCann, Giulia Leila Travaglini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although Congress often uses grants and other fiscal incentives when delegating policy to the states, it also incorporates nonfiscal arrangements, or joint partnerships, into legislation. These partnerships include joint state-federal oversight boards, intergovernmental task forces, as well as other nondistributive programs and services. We examine the conditions under which Congress chooses to increase joint partnerships in a formal model of intergovernmental delegation and test the implications of the model on federal laws from 1973 to 2010. We argue with evidence that Congress may rely on collaborative nonfiscal partnerships with states and localities when technical uncertainty increases but is less likely to do so when political uncertainty rises. Our theory extends existing models of delegation to provide an important step toward a broader theory of legislatively designed collaborative governance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-384
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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