Chapter 2The Changing Character of the American Intergovernmental System

Laurence J. O'Toole Jr.

The huge and variegated intergovernmental landscape in the United States can barely be comprehended in general terms, let alone understood in all its finely grained detail: more than ninety thousand governments and growing (US Bureau of the Census, 2012), huge variations by region and type of governmental ties, fundamentally true to the basic constitutional design of the founders and yet incredibly complicated. What is more, the “system,” if one can even use that term to encompass the whole, is dynamically in flux.

With regard to the changing character of the system, one need only point to the array of instruments and cross-governmental linkages. ...

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