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Coercive versus cooperative policies: Comparing intergovernmental mandate performance


  • Peter J. May

    (University of Washington, Seattle, Washington)

  • Raymond J. Burby

    (University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisianna)


Cooperative policies hold out promise of an improvement over coercive mandates as ways to enhance implementation of intergovernmental programs. By treating subordinate governments as regulatory trustees and emphasizing substantive compliance, the cooperative mandates avoid the onerous aspects of heavy-handed regulatory federalism. Our comparison of state hazard-mitigation policy in Florida and in New South Wales, Australia addresses procedural and substantive compliance under the two forms of intergovernmental policies. When local governments are not committed to state policy objectives, the coercive policy produces better results as evidenced by higher rates of procedural compliance and greater effort by local governments to achieve policy objectives. When local government commitment exists, the cooperative policy produces substantive results that are at least the equivalent to the coercive policy. Moreover, over the long run cooperative policies may have greater promise in sustaining local government commitment. The dilemma is to figure out how to motivate lagging jurisdictions that seem to require a coercive policy, while not straightjacketing leading jurisdictions that are capable of thriving under a cooperative regime.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter J. May & Raymond J. Burby, 1996. "Coercive versus cooperative policies: Comparing intergovernmental mandate performance," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(2), pages 171-201.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:15:y:1996:i:2:p:171-201 DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6688(199621)15:2<171::AID-PAM2>3.0.CO;2-G

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Linder, Stephen H. & Peters, B. Guy, 1989. "Instruments of Government: Perceptions and Contexts," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 35-58, January.
    2. Peter J. May, 1993. "Mandate design and implementation: Enhancing implementation efforts and shaping regulatory styles," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 634-663.
    3. Ingram, Helen & Schneider, Anne, 1990. "Improving Implementation Through Framing Smarter Statutes," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 67-88, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maddalena Sorrentino & Massimo Simonetta, 2013. "Incentivising inter-municipal collaboration: the Lombard experience," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 17(4), pages 887-906, November.
    2. Wernstedt, Kris & Hersh, Robert, 2002. "Flood Planning and Climate Forecasts at the Local Level," Discussion Papers dp-02-27, Resources For the Future.

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