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The Tools of Government: Grants


The Tools of Government: Grants. David R. Beam & Timothy J. Conlan ... Constitutional Considerations: Grants judged by federal government as appropriate ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Tools of Government: Grants

The Tools of Government Grants
  • David R. Beam Timothy J. Conlan

Defining the Tool Grants
  • Defining Features
  • Stimulating or supporting
  • Founded in land grants
  • Primarily cash payment
  • Directed toward other levels of government,
    nonprofit organizations, universities, or
  • Relation to Key Tool Features
  • Directness The principle indirect tool
  • Automaticity High level due to reliance on other
  • Coerciveness Generally non-coercive
  • Visibility Fairly visible

Defining the Tools Grants
  • Design Features and Major Variants
  • Scope of Purpose Categorical Grants, Block
    Grants, and General Purpose Assistance
  • Method of Allocation Formula (continuous,
    prescribed by law) Project Grants (fixed
    period, specific project or service)
  • Degree of Federal or Donor Control Application
    process and financial audits
  • Other Design Features Recipient variation and
    pass through grants

Patterns of Grants Use
  • Current Extent
  • Most widely used policy tool of American Federal
  • 928 funded grant programs amoung the 1,412
    federal assistance programs in 1999
  • Nonfederal Grants
  • Numerous grants from states to their localities
  • Grants and pass through grants generated from
    state receipts
  • In 1996, 30 of the 248 billion in state aid was
    pass-through federal funding
  • International Experience
  • Comparably the US relies more heavily on
    Categorical Grants
  • There has been an international shift to Block
    and General Grants

Patterns of Grant Use
  • Recent Trends in the United States
  • Grant Growth Significant growth since
    mid-nineteenth century with bursts in the 1930s,
    1956, 1960s and 1990s
  • More Payments to Individuals Nearly all growth
    has been in the form of individual payments such
    as Medicaid, welfare aid, and housing assistance
  • The Erosion Flexible Funding While the number of
    block grants has increased the proportion of
    federal aid has not
  • Growing Mandates Crosscutting requirements and
    crossover sanctions
  • Research Grant Trends On the rise since WWII and
    it is an important component of external funding
    streams for institutional research and

Basic Mechanics of Grant In Aid
  • Authorization
  • Administering organization
  • Description of supported activities
  • Eligibility
  • Distribution of funds
  • Allocation Application, Selection, and Awarding

  • Regulations
  • Marketing
  • Application
  • Application Review
  • Award Process
  • Post Award Management and Assessment
  • Program implementation
  • Monitoring and evaluation

Tool Selection Theory and Practice
  • Rationale for the Use of Grants
  • Constitutional Considerations Grants judged by
    federal government as appropriate tool for
    handling domestic functions
  • Administrative Rationales Justified on basis of
    administrative efficiency
  • Economic Theory The federal government possesses
    the strongest and fairest revenue source
  • Political Considerations
  • Effective way to bring states into federal
  • Addresses specific concerns of interest groups on
    federal level
  • Centralization of American Government

Tool Selection Theory and Practice
  • Systemic Concerns Reducing Duplication and
  • Grant Consolidation Categorical grants to block
  • Grant Simplification Simplify and Standardize
    administrative procedures
  • Trade-off Proposals 100 cost shift between
    state and federal level
  • Inefficient Allocation of Funds
  • Adherence to the Robin Hood tax system
  • Individual Program Concerns
  • Delays in Spending Funds Money is not always
  • Improper Expenditure Funds Money not spent where
  • Failure to Achieve Objective Desired results are
    not always met

Overall Assessment
  • Legitimacy High in political legitimacy
  • Effectiveness Moderate- some programs are very
    effective while others are hard to gauge
  • Efficiency Grants are poor in efficiency due to
    the difficulty in tracking funds
  • Equity The wide distribution rather than need
    based distribution leads to poor equity ratings
  • Accountability There are many complexities
    leading to a poor rating

Future Directions
  • More of the Same Expect that grants in the
    United States will continue to grow
  • Recurring Cycles of Growth and Reform With
    expected growth there needs to be significant
    reform in terms of implementation, efficiency,
    and evaluation
  • Shift from Grants to Other Tools There will be
    other domestic policy tools which will compete
    for dominance with grants