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Getting Beyond Economic Stimulation: The Effects of Gubernatorial Partisan Commitment, Federal Resources and Regulatory Requirements on Final Performance Goal Achievement in Stimulus Grants

PAQ, Vol. 44 No. 3, 363-393 (2020)

Like many other national governments, the United States federal government has a history of using local level implementation structures to stimulate the economy. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is one case in point. The federal government funneled upwards of $800 billion dollars to states and local governments through what were mostly preexisting programs and institutions in the hopes that shovel-ready projects would be promptly funded and successfully implemented. A key feature of this strategic spending and the research conducted around it is that recipient governments spend down this money as soon as possible. This delay made many question the efficacy of the ARRA. Yet, there is more to program performance than the lack of economic stimulation caused by implementation delay. This study asks the following question: When the media attention and politicization of the spending has died down, what factors influence whether the program meets its performance goals (even though it might have experienced considerable implementation delay)? This question is investigated using the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) – as funded by the ARRA.

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