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Public Opinion Toward Intergovernmental Policy Responsibilities


  • Saundra K. Schneider
  • William G. Jacoby
  • Daniel C. Lewis


This study examines public opinion toward the policy responsibilities of the national, state, and local governments. We use new data from a national survey to analyze citizens' attitudes toward the general and policy-specific activities of the respective governmental levels. We find that people want all levels of government to do more. But, they also differentiate among national, state, and local responsibilities for particular policy areas. In fact, public opinion corresponds quite closely to actual policy efforts manifested at different governmental levels. Moreover, citizens' preferences for specific programmatic activities are guided by a combination of general beliefs about governmental responsibilities and assessments of economic capacities. These findings have important theoretical and practical implications for understanding the American intergovernmental system. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Saundra K. Schneider & William G. Jacoby & Daniel C. Lewis, 2011. "Public Opinion Toward Intergovernmental Policy Responsibilities," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 1-30, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:publus:v:41:y:2011:i:1:p:1-30

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    Cited by:

    1. James Alm & Robert D. Buschman & David L. Sjoquist, 0. "Citizen "Trust" as an Explanation of State Education Funding to Local School Districts," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 636-661.

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