The Lesson from the Modern American Federalism: A Challenge to Effective Public Policy Performance

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Contemporary U.S. federalism particularly since the late1960s has evolved over the course of pluralism alternating exercisable governmental powers between the federal and state governments. The complexity of the power relationship has been observed in a variety of policies during the past quarter-century as has the discussion of whether or not contemporary U.S. federalism has developed in a way that increase effective public policy performance. Focusing mainly on the period of the past 50 years of U.S. federalism history, this article suggests that federalism dynamics have not exercised either constant liberal or conservative influence on public policy performance. Instead, this article suggests that the clear functional responsibility between the federal government and state and local governments have characterized contemporary U.S. federalism-more federal responsibility for redistribution and more state and local responsibility for development, which in turn increased public policy performance. This feature has been quite substantial since 1970s. As a result, this article suggests that despite the increased complexity of the U.S. federal system, it has evolved in such an appropriate way that would increase the efficiency of federal system by dividing a clear intergovernmental responsibility on major policy platforms.

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