Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 April 2020
Legal maneuvers can help explain the rapid recent growth of privatized forms of governance, such as voucher schemes and tax expenditures. Although privatization seems to exacerbate principal-agent problems and reduce credit-claiming opportunities, attenuating the relationship between the state and the controversial policy outputs can be politically expedient for policymakers fearing legal losses, because it helps defend such policies in court. This chapter introduces readers to the concept of attenuation: the process by which policymakers in local, state, or federal government hide the state’s role in promoting a particular policy output. Anticipating constitutional challenge, elites use strategic policy design and rhetoric to advance their policy goals.