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The recession-era days of state reliance on the federal government are waning. States and localities are increasingly assertive in seeking independence from Washington’s policy priorities, especially when those priorities clash with their partisan leanings. Kevin Smith and Alan Greenblatt’s trusted and proven text employs a comparative approach to show how the geography, history, political culture, institutional structures, economic underpinnings, and demographics of states and localities both clash and converge in comprehensible, telling ways. Why does one state pass stricter gun control standards while another loosens them? What are the implications of state legalization of marijuana when the federal government still calls it illegal? Smith and Greenblatt provide students with the tools to begin answering these questions. Students will appreciate the book’s journalistic writing, yet come away with a foundation in the latest scholarship and the ability to do their own comparative analysis. The Fifth Edition of Governing States and Localities features extensive updating to account for such major developments as the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the education debate over the Common Core State Standards, and the implications for residents when localities succumb to bankruptcy.


We gratefully acknowledge Kevin B. Smith and Alan Greenblatt for writing an excellent text. Special thanks are also due to Jayme Neiman for developing the ancillaries on this site.