Federalism is a way to structure a government so that power is divided between the national government and sub-ordinate (state) governments. Two power-centered models of federalism are nation-centered and state-centered. Nation-centered federalism has been called permissive federalism, whereas, “there is a sharing of power and authority between the national and state governments, but the state’s share rests upon the permission and permissiveness of the national government” (Walker, 22). State-centered federalism does not subscribe to the notion that the national authority supersedes state’s power; rather, that duel federalism exists, or, that there are “separate, equal spheres or power…” (22).
The powers designated to national or state governments may be observed through the functions, or operations, of those governments. Independent-competitive vs. independent collaborative models may be viewed via the administration and execution of public policies. Since the Framers of the Constitution articulated the intent of dual federalism, often national policy (pre-1933) was likened to a layer cake. Here, an independent observer could see that taxation, for example, was operationally separate in the state and national spheres.
In the 1950s, people began to see American federalism as more of a marble cake, called cooperative federalism, because of “extensive intergovernmental collaboration in the form of Federal grants, services-in-aid…” (23). However, in the 1960s and 1970s, national policy became “geared toward achieving individual or group modification behavior” and thus, collaborative federalism was likened to “Controversial, confrontational, conflicting, even litigious” federalism (23, italics in original). Thus, when viewed through public policy, state-centered federalism faded during recent decades to national-centered federalism.
Independent-collaborative dualism became independent-competitive federalism.
The Rebirth Of Federalism: Slouching Toward Washington, 2nd Edition by David B Walker (Jul 26, 1999).