The Fly Ball Effect: A Theoretical Framework for Understanding the Impacts of Short-Term Seed Grants
Public Budgeting & Finance (Winter 2011): 74-92. Winner of the 2012 Jesse Burkhead Award for Best Paper Published in PBF in 2011
19 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2011 Last revised: 31 May 2013
Date Written: 2011
The federal government has long used grants-in-aid to encourage state and local governments to carry out federal policies. Little research has been done that examines how short-term seed grants affect program continuation. We propose the “fly ball effect” as a theoretical framework for understanding how seed money should impact program maintenance. Our theory suggests that short-term seed grants by themselves should result in considerable funding uncertainty and program eliminations or stagnation once the initial grant money expires. We use data from drug court start-ups in four states to provide empirical support for our theory. We argue that understanding the logic of the fly ball effect can help granting governments to improve the effectiveness of their grant funding systems, at least as measured by strong program continuation and expansion.
Keywords: drug courts, funding, seed grants, fly ball effect, grants, grant funding
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