Federal vocational laws were designed by southern legislators who employed states' rights arguments to serve the economic and political interests of southern elites. But federal-level policy formation and state-level policy implementation are shaped by different factors. This article examines whether state-specific political conditions influenced the race-specific manner in which federal vocational funding was allocated in Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina. Time-series analyses are based on annual data on vocational programs and on information about different forms of political action. Drawing on the concept of the proximate political opportunity structure, I use state capacity and mobilization capacity measures to analyze the determinants of state-level implementation. Federal vocational laws and litigation challenging racial segregation in education serve as state capacity measures; organizational strength (NAACP chapters) and oppositional voting serve as mobilization capacity measures. Findings show that both dimensions shaped policy implementation at the state level but that the strength and consistency of the effects depended on the openness of the proximate opportunity structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science