Temporary Crises and Priority Changes: The Case of State Substance Abuse Systems

Michael R. Sosin, Steven Rathgeb Smith, Timothy Hilton, Lucy Porter Jordan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many doubts have been expressed about the capacity of states to administer federally supported social service programs. This article relies on institutional theory, punctuated equilibrium theory, and evidence from two states to analyze the way states administer the programs in times of fiscal crisis. The particular context is the fiscal crisis of the early 2000s in substance abuse programs. The analysis suggest that, during the crisis, state administrative authorities and the providers they funded refocused services on federal rather than local priorities. The states and providers also further integrated substance abuse services with the services of other programs and promoted managerial practices that seemed to loosen the match between services and clients. The findings point to some of the ways in which the states' capacities to respond to crises can be undermined by the national trend toward encouraging state discretion. Findings also reveal challenges for state-level crisis management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-575
Number of pages37
JournalJOURNAL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION RESEARCH AND THEORY
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010

Keywords

  • CUTBACK MANAGEMENT
  • RESOURCE DEPENDENCE
  • WELFARE-REFORM
  • HOLLOW STATE
  • ORGANIZATIONS
  • INSTITUTIONS
  • RESPONSES
  • POLITICS
  • STRATEGIES
  • FIELDS

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