Governing States and Localities, 4th Edition

Kevin B. Smith, University of Nebraska,Lincoln
Alan Greenblatt


In the aftermath of the Great Recession, states and localities were forced to make stark choices over funding and public services as they battled to balance their budgets. While the worst of the economic hardships have passed, federal stimulus money has run dry and federal-state relations are more contentious than ever. So what's next?

Smith and Greenblatt chart the future for states and localities as they deal with new federal regulations, a decrease in public sector employment, the consolidation of agencies, and the weakening of labor unions' political clout. The fourth edition of Governing States and Localities continues what has always set this introductory text apart: its expert blend of the latest scholarship with engaging journalistic writing. Along with their crisp storytelling, the authors employ a comparative approach to explain how and why states and localities are both similar and different in institutional structure, culture, history, economy, geography, and demographics.

Click Here to learn more and request an exam copy of the 4th edition of Governing States and Localites!

Also, get access to State Stats FREE with the purchase of the print book. Check out a tour online at

State Stats is a new database from CQ Press that delivers a dynamic and engaging user experience that is unmatched in other resources. Featuring data from more than 80 different government and non-government sources and backed by a rich collection of more than 2,000 current and historical data series on popular topics of research interest, State Stats uniquely allows users to discover, view, and export key information measures for the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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Sample Chapters

Sample Chapter 10


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Praise for the 3rd edition

Governing States and Localities’ comparative method provides a comprehensive, thoughtful and systematic approach to the study of state and local government. The blend of theory and practical examples engages my students and challenges them to think about how subnational government affects their day-to-day lives.”

    Dana Michael Harsell, University of North Dakota

“I have looked at a lot of state and local books and Governing States and Localities is head and shoulders above the rest. It is thorough and engaging. Students read it and understand it.”

    Lori Riverstone-Newe, Illinois State University

Governing States and Localities is obviously developed with a great sense of how the political, institutional, and policy ‘parts’ fit together. There is plenty for students to appreciate. I have received more unsolicited positive comments regarding this textbook than any other I’ve used. Every skill level can learn something.”

    Scott Moore, Colorado State University

“My students respond favorably to Governing States and Localities. I’m particularly impressed with its tables, figures, and maps, which are great learning tools that I’ve found really helpful in getting across lecture points.”

    John Woodcock, Central Connecticut State University

Governing States and Localities covers all of the major ideas in the literature well and its graphics are a real strength. My students read it and find it engaging. The layout is fabulous and works well in lecture form too.”

    David Peterson, Iowa State University