Get access

From Cooperative to Opportunistic Federalism: Reflections on the Half-Century Anniversary of the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations

Authors

  • Tim Conlan

    Corresponding author
    1. George Mason University
      Tim Conlan is a professor of government and politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. E-mail:tconlan@gmu.edu.
    Search for more papers by this author

Tim Conlan is a professor of government and politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. E-mail:tconlan@gmu.edu.

Abstract

In 1955, the Commission on Intergovernmental Relations—the Kestnbaum Commission—embellished the intellectual framework of cooperative federalism and laid out a policy agenda for promoting it. Since then, our intergovernmental system has evolved from a predominantly cooperative federal–state–local system to one characterized by corrosive opportunistic behavior, greater policy prescriptiveness, eroding institutional capacity for intergovernmental analysis, and shifting paradigms of public management. These trends threaten to undermine effective intergovernmental relations and management. Recent developments, however, offer some promise for building new institutions of intergovernmental analysis, more effective paradigms of intergovernmental public management, and greater horizontal cooperation.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary