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Advantages of Federalism, Part 3


A third advantage of American federalism is that, because states retain policy-making autonomy, the system has allowed for a good deal of policy experimentation. As former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once famously put it, the states are “the laboratories of democracy.” Successful policy innovations in one state can be adopted by other states or by the national government.
For example, major elements of the much-heralded Welfare Reform Act of 1996 such as time limits on benefits and work requirements began in several states, most notably Wisconsin, as
waivers of national standards to determine whether state initiatives could lead to significant changes in welfare dependency patterns.

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