Does the Federal Government Learn from the States? Medicaid and the Limits of Expertise in the Intergovernmental Lobby

Posted: 18 Aug 2009

See all articles by Kevin M. Esterling

Kevin M. Esterling

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science

Abstract

State programmatic expertise is an important asset to federal systems, but this expertise is not always informative to federal decision-makers. I argue the degree to which state expertise is informative to federal decision-makers depends on how well the policy interests of state and federal levels are aligned. I illustrate variation in these conditions using case studies of congressional politics over the Medicaid program. I then apply a statistical test, which demonstrates that states’ programmatic expertise regarding Medicaid is less persuasive to congressional committee members compared to other witnesses who are equally knowledgeable. The results suggest a “failure of federalism,” where the public good potential of state programmatic expertise often is not realized in the federal system.

Suggested Citation

Esterling, Kevin M., Does the Federal Government Learn from the States? Medicaid and the Limits of Expertise in the Intergovernmental Lobby. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Vol. 39, Issue 1, pp. 1-21, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1456165 or http://dx.doi.org/pjn025

Kevin M. Esterling (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.politicalscience.ucr.edu/people/faculty/esterling/index.html

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