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Handbook of Public Administration, 3rd Edition by James L. Perry, Robert K. Christensen

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Chapter 11Using Grants to Achieve Public Purposes

Sean Nicholson-Crotty

In 2012, the US federal government gave more than $600 billion in grants-in-aid to state and local governments. Approximately 80 percent of this funding was distributed under the five largest grants, with the remainder spread across approximately one thousand additional programs.1 These vary dramatically in the mechanism by which allocations are determined and the restrictions imposed on jurisdictions that receive federal funds. The prevalence of the various types of grants and the discretion that state and local governments have to spend those monies have also varied over time, depending on the preferences and capacities of national and subnational actors.

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