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The Changing Politics of Federal Grants

By Lawrence D. Brown, James W. Fossett, and Kenneth T. Palmer

The design and use of federal grants-in-aid to state and local governments have posed policy choices for every presidential administration since that of Lyndon B. Johnson. The papers in this volume describe the decisions these administrations have made, analyze why only some of these choices prevailed politically, and explain how large amounts of federal aid have affected local governments.

These studies mark the final chapter in a major research effort carried out by the Brookings Governmental Studies program to evaluate the effects of general revenue sharing and other broad-based forms of aid that were introduced in the early 1970s.

Kenneth T. Palmer traces the major steps in the evolution of grants-in-aid since the Johnson administration. Lawrence D. Brown’s essay on the politics of devolution examines the successes and failures of innovative grant policies such as revenue sharing and block grants. James W. Fossett, writing on the politics of dependence, analyzes the effect of the massive expansion of federal grants to the large cities in the 1970s.

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