States as Stakeholders: Federalism, Policy Feedback, and Government Elites

Andrew Karch, Shanna Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Politicians and program administrators played a central role in early studies of policy feedback but have largely been superseded by a focus on mass publics. This article attempts to revive and reorient the study of elite feedback effects by investigating, in the context of American federalism, whether and how national programs can influence the incentives and resources of state government officials. It examines four case studies in which national officials adopted a new program and subsequently tried to alter it by diminishing the states' administrative role, reducing the financial resources available, or terminating the program. State-level actors emerged as critical stakeholders and strongly resisted national efforts to reform unemployment insurance and Medicaid, but neither the Sheppard-Towner Act nor general revenue sharing generated strong elite-level feedback effects. This variation suggests that timing (i.e., the political, economic, and administrative context), policy design (financial generosity, administrative discretion, duration of authorization, and coalition potential), and their interaction can prompt or discourage government elites to mobilize.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-67
Number of pages21
JournalStudies in American Political Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


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