Blurring Borders: The Effect of Federal Activism on Interstate Cooperation Academic Article uri icon


  • Interstate compacts are an increasingly important policy tool available to states, one that allows them to tackle regional and national issues. What effect does policy activity at the federal level have on state participation in interstate compacts? Drawing on theories of functional federalism, the authors explore the possibility that a states response to federal activism varies across policy domains. For economic policy the authors hypothesize that federal activism causes an increase in compact participation, as states attempt to defend themselves against federal intrusion. In other policy areas the authors expect that states are more likely to enter into compacts during periods of relative federal inactivity. Results from a set of event-count models generally support these hypotheses. The study findings suggest that states may sometimes use interstate compacts as a mechanism to resist federal incursion but that this is just one facet of a more complex pattern of intergovernmental policy adjustment.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Woods, N. D., & Bowman, A. O.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Woods, Neal D||Bowman, Ann O'M

publication date

  • September 2011