Does the Federal Government Learn from the States? Medicaid and the Limits of Expertise in the Intergovernmental Lobby
Posted: 18 Aug 2009
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: Suggested Citation