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which Grodzins (1966) describes as “marble cake” federalism, is

especially useful for explaining the phenomenon of cooperation

across levels of governments. Local jurisdictions have the ability

and authority to implement some independent laws, politics,

and financial decisions. Their interaction across levels of

governments is about sharing, bargaining, negotiating

cooperation, and drawing down more resources from higher

levels of governments while trying to maintain policy

independence (as opposed to merely implementing higher level

policy mandates). The concept of federalism is not

centralization but rather power sharing among political centers

(Elazar, 1962). On the basis of this perspective, inter-

governmental relationship in the U.S. can be represented as an

overlapping-authority model, which means: 1) governmental

operations simultaneously involve different levels of

governments; 2) the interactions between different levels of

governments are full of bargains and negotiations; and 3) the

autonomy of each level of government is limited but nonetheless

exists (Wright, 2007).

From the resource-seeking perspective, the grant-in aid

system in America also reflects the characteristics of vertical

collaboration (McGuire, 2006). This aid system has long been

characterized by the presence of bargaining, cooperation, and

mutual dependence (Pressman, 1975). With the growth and

expansion of federal grants and new regulatory programs,

federal-state and federal-local programming, federal initiatives

to nongovernmental organizations, and expanded roles for state

governments, vertical collaborative actions and transactions

across levels of governments also increased (Agranoff &

McGuire, 2003). O’Toole and Meier (2004) stated that

intergovernmental grant programs imply a donor- recipient

relationship which involves one or more donor governments

and governmental agencies in regular interaction with one or

more recipient governments and agencies (Pressman, 1975).