Hollowing the Infrastructure: Revolving Loan Programs and Network Dynamics in the American States

Laurence J. O'Toole

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Trends toward more complex intergovernmental programs and greater use of public-private arrangements carry implications for public management, since these developments signify challenges for administrators called upon to manage within hollowed institutional settings: interorganizational networks for effectuating policy. The implications of such shifts are explored by examining one important program change of the last decade: the move away from federal grant support for municipal wastewater treatment infrastructure and toward the creation of separate state revolving-loan funds (SRFs). National regulatory standards remain, but the central place of the EPA in the infrastructure effort has shifted largely into other hands, with consequences for the implementation of policy. Altered policy instruments stimulate the formation of more complex network patterns involving new actors who offer needed technologies. These changes carry implications for program operations and results. Evidence from the operations of SRFs suggests that these developments are significant and also that public management has become, if anything, even more consequential in such networked contexts.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)225-242
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of public administration research and theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • METIS-100626
  • IR-102752

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