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Spring 2011 - 62105 - PA188S - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

State of American Federalism

Instructor(s): Gamkhar, Shama
Unique Number: 62105
Day & Time: W 9:00 - 12:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.312
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

Three hours a week for five weeks, or as required by the topic. Content varies and cover a wide range of policy topics. May be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

Section Description

The policy agenda of the Obama administration, reinforced by responses to the most severe recession since the 1930s, has the potential to reshape American federalism. Important elements of the administration’s health care, energy conservation, climate change, financial initiatives and others promise to have significant intergovernmental consequences. Moreover, federal aid to state and local governments has reached historically high levels. Federal grants comprise more than one third of the funding in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the ARRA’s unprecedented mechanisms for accountability and transparency create a new centralizing dynamic in American intergovernmental relations.

Trends in federal, state and local finances will be examined, along with developments in federal mandating and preemption. In addition, new issues of federal grant design and administration will be examined. Finally, the intergovernmental policies of the Obama administration will be placed in historical context, with comparisons drawn to past presidential agendas intended to restructure the balance of power and functional relationships within the U.S. federal system.

The course format will primarily be a combination of lectures, discussions and student- presentations. A few guest speakers will be invited to speak on topical issues related to the course materials. The assignments will include a group-based case study and individual short memos.


Course will be taught from 4/6/11 to 5/4/11.