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Abstract

During the 1980s and 1990s, collaborative governance emerged as a potentially new global paradigm for public administration. It comes in many forms. However, its essence is governmental reliance on nongovernmental entities for the delivery of public services and constraints. Simply put, collaborative governance calls on government to focus on "steering" while relying on third parties to do the "rowing." In the United States, collaborative government is not new in kind-the federal government relied on contractors to convey the mail from the early days of the republic. Rather it is new in scope, accounting for billions of dollars and millions of contract employees. As with any major shift in public administration, collaborative governance challenges extant legal regimes and organizational cultures. This article explains these challenges and considers some of the changes necessary to integrate collaborative government more fully into U.S. constitutional democracy.

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