State Intergovernmental Grant Programs

Ronald C. Fisher and Andrew Bristle

in The Oxford Handbook of State and Local Government Finance

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199765362
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 State Intergovernmental Grant Programs

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  • Economics
  • Public Economics
  • Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics


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Although much of the state and local literature regarding grants is focused on federal aid to state and local governments, much of the action in grants policy and practice is that of state-to-local transfers, which are larger in absolute as well as relative magnitude than federal aid. Moreover, for those who want to know what lessons, if any, the United States has to offer to developing and transitional countries, the practice of “state aid” is relevant. This article identifies the reasons that, for efficiency, a well-designed system of fiscal decentralization will utilize intergovernmental transfers. The discussion begins with details about the vertical imbalance within the aggregate numbers for state-to-local aid. The article then turns its attention to a topic that is perennially at or near the top of nearly every state and local legislative body.

Keywords: local governments; federal aid; intergovernmental grant programs; state-to-local transfers; state aid; fiscal decentralization

Article.  11589 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Public Economics ; Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics

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