Winner of the 2020 Outstanding Book Award Presented by the Public and Nonprofit Section of the National Academy of Management
Winner of the 2019 Louis Brownlow Book Award from the National Academy of Public Administration
Bureaucracy, confusing paperwork, and complex regulations—or what public policy scholars Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan call administrative burdens—often introduce delay and frustration into our experiences with government agencies. Administrative burdens diminish the effectiveness of public programs and can even block individuals from fundamental rights like voting. In AdministrativeBurden, Herd and Moynihan document that the administrative burdens citizens regularly encounter in their interactions with the state are not simply unintended byproducts of governance, but the result of deliberate policy choices. Because burdens affect people’s perceptions of government and often perpetuate long-standing inequalities, understanding why administrative burdens exist and how they can be reduced is essential for maintaining a healthy public sector.
Through in-depth case studies of federal programs and controversial legislation, the authors show that administrative burdens are the nuts-and-bolts of policy design. Regarding controversial issues such as voter enfranchisement or abortion rights, lawmakers often use administrative burdens to limit access to rights or services they oppose. For instance, legislators have implemented administrative burdens such as complicated registration requirements and strict voter-identification laws to suppress turnout of African American voters. Similarly, the right to an abortion is legally protected, but many states require women seeking abortions to comply with burdens such as mandatory waiting periods, ultrasounds, and scripted counseling. As Herd and Moynihan demonstrate, administrative burdens often disproportionately affect the disadvantaged who lack the resources to deal with the financial and psychological costs of navigating these obstacles.
However, policymakers have sometimes reduced administrative burdens or shifted them away from citizens and onto the government. One example is Social Security, which early administrators of the program implemented in the 1930s with the goal of minimizing burdens for beneficiaries. As a result, the take-up rate is about 100 percent because the Social Security Administration keeps track of peoples’ earnings for them, automatically calculates benefits and eligibility, and simply requires an easy online enrollment or visiting one of 1,200 field offices. Making more programs and public services operate this efficiently, the authors argue, requires adoption of a nonpartisan, evidence-based metric for determining when and how to institute administrative burdens, with a bias toward reducing them. By ensuring that the public’s interaction with government is no more onerous than it need be, policymakers and administrators can reduce inequality, boost civic engagement, and build an efficient state that works for all citizens.
In the past twenty years, economic policy in Latin America has veered toward neoliberalism, or market friendliness. State interventions in the economy were cut back in many areas, in the form of reductions in fiscal deficits; privatization of public enterprises; reductions of import quotas and tariffs and export subsidies; removal of barriers to foreign capital flow; and increased faith in the private sector and market processes.
This book offers an intellectual and historical background for these policy choices, specifically in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. The contributors detail the structural reform and economic policies in Latin America and discuss the various and often contradictory effects neoliberalism, such as fluctuating growth rates and saving-investment balances, worsened corruption, growth of exports, falling wages, and rising unemployment. In addition, each case study forecasts the effects of neoliberal policies on future growth and income distribution in the respective countries. Finally, it offers policy alternatives to neoliberalism.
The essays in this volume are: an introduction by Lance Taylor; "The Argentine Experience with Stabilization and Structural Reform," by José María Fanelli and Roberto Frenkel; "Opening, Stabilization, and Macroeconomic Sustainability in Brazil," by Edward Amadeo, "An Ongoing Structural Transformation: The Colombian Economy, 1986-96," by José Antonio Ocampo; "Economic Reforms, Stabilization Policies, and the 'Mexican Disease,'" by Nora Claudia Lustig and Jaime Ros; and "Structural Reforms and Macroeconomic Policy in Peru: 1990-96," by Oscar Dancourt.
Lance Taylor is the Arnhold Professor of International Cooperation and Development, New School for Social Research.
Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution (1979–1990) initiated a broad program of social transformation to improve the situation of the working class and poor, women, and other non-elite groups through agrarian reform, restructured urban employment, and wide access to health care, education, and social services. This book explores how Nicaragua’s least powerful citizens have fared in the years since the Sandinista revolution, as neoliberal governments have rolled back these state-supported reforms and introduced measures to promote the development of a market-driven economy. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted throughout the 1990s, Florence Babb describes the negative consequences that have followed the return to a capitalist path, especially for women and low-income citizens. In addition, she charts the growth of women’s and other social movements (neighborhood, lesbian and gay, indigenous, youth, peace, and environmental) that have taken advantage of new openings for political mobilization. Her ethnographic portraits of a low-income barrio and of women’s craft cooperatives powerfully link local, cultural responses to national and global processes.
Why, despite decades of high levels of foreign aid, has development been so disappointing in most of Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to rising numbers of poor and fueling political instabilities? While not ignoring the culpability of Africans in these problems, Carol Lancaster finds that much of the responsibility is in the hands of the governments and international aid agencies that provide assistance to the region. The first examination of its kind, Aid to Africa investigates the impact of bureaucratic politics, special interest groups, and public opinion in aid-giving countries and agencies. She finds that aid agencies in Africa often misdiagnosed problems, had difficulty designing appropriate programs that addressed the local political environment, and failed to coordinate their efforts effectively.
This balanced but tough-minded analysis does not reject the potential usefulness of foreign aid but does offer recommendations for fundamental changes in how governments and multilateral aid agencies can operate more effectively.
Politics in Alaska have changed significantly since the last major book on the subject was published more than twenty years ago, with the rise and fall of Sarah Palin and the rise and fall of oil prices being but two of the many developments to alter the political landscape.
This book, the most comprehensive on the subject to date, focuses on the question of how beliefs, institutions, personalities, and power interact to shape Alaska politics and public policy. Drawing on these interactions, the contributors explain how and why certain issues get dealt with successfully and others unsuccessfully, and why some issues are taken up quickly while others are not addressed at all. This comprehensive guide to the political climate of Alaska will be essential to anyone studying the politics of America’s largest—and in some ways most unusual—state.
Destined to become the standard guide to the economic policy of the United States during the Reagan era, this book provides an authoritative record of the economic reforms of the 1980s.
In his introduction, Martin Feldstein provides compelling analysis of policies with which he was closely involved as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the Reagan administration: monetary and exchange rate policy, tax policy, and budget issues. Other leading economists and policymakers examine a variety of domestic and international issues, including monetary and exchange rate policy, regulation and antitrust, as well as trade, tax, and budget policies.
The contributors to this volume are Alberto Alesina, Phillip Areeda, Elizabeth Bailey, William F. Baxter, C. Fred Bergsten, James Burnley, Geoffrey Carliner, Christopher DeMuth, Douglas W. Elmendorf, Thomas O. Enders, Martin Feldstein, Jeffrey A. Frankel, Don Fullerton, William M. Isaac, Paul L Joskow, Paul Krugman, Robert E. Litan, Russell B. Long, Michael Mussa, William A. Niskanen, Roger G. Noll, Lionel H. Olmer, Rudolph Penner, William Poole, James M. Poterba, Harry M. Reasoner, William R. Rhodes, J. David Richardson, Charles Schultze, Paula Stern, David Stockman, William Taylor, James Tobin, W. Kip Viscusi, Paul A. Volcker, Charles E. Walker, David A. Wise, and Richard G. Woodbury.
Here is the most comprehensive and authoritative work to date on relationships between the economy and politics in the years from Eisenhower through Reagan. Extending and deepening his earlier work, which had major impact in both political science and economics, Douglas Hibbs traces the patterns in and sources of postwar growth, unemployment, and inflation. He identifies which groups “win” and “lose” from inflations and recessions. He also shows how voters’ perceptions and reactions to economic events affect the electoral fortunes of political parties and presidents.
Hibbs’s analyses demonstrate that political officials in a democratic society ignore the economic interests and demands of their constituents at their peril, because episodes of prosperity and austerity frequently have critical influence on voters’ behavior at the polls. The consequences of Eisenhower’s last recession, of Ford’s unwillingness to stimulate the economy, of Carter’s stalled recovery were electorally fatal, whereas Johnson’s, Nixon’s, and Reagan’s successes in presiding over rising employment and real incomes helped win elections.
The book develops a major theory of macroeconomic policy action that explains why priority is given to growth, unemployment, inflation, and income distribution shifts with changes in partisan control of the White House. The analysis shows how such policy priorities conform to the underlying economic interests and preferences of the governing party’s core political supporters. Throughout the study Hibbs is careful to take account of domestic institutional arrangements and international economic events that constrain domestic policy effectiveness and influence domestic economic outcomes.
Hibbs’s interdisciplinary approach yields more rigorous and more persuasive characterizations of the American political economy than either purely economic, apolitical analyses or purely partisan, politicized accounts. His book provides a useful benchmark for the advocacy of new policies for the 1990s—a handy volume for politicians and their staffs, as well as for students and teachers of politics and economics.
A bold call to reclaim an American tradition that argues the Constitution imposes a duty on government to fight oligarchy and ensure broadly shared wealth.
Oligarchy is a threat to the American republic. When too much economic and political power is concentrated in too few hands, we risk losing the “republican form of government” the Constitution requires. Today, courts enforce the Constitution as if it has almost nothing to say about this threat. But as Joseph Fishkin and William Forbath show in this revolutionary retelling of constitutional history, a commitment to prevent oligarchy once stood at the center of a robust tradition in American political and constitutional thought.
Fishkin and Forbath demonstrate that reformers, legislators, and even judges working in this “democracy of opportunity” tradition understood that the Constitution imposes a duty on legislatures to thwart oligarchy and promote a broad distribution of wealth and political power. These ideas led Jacksonians to fight special economic privileges for the few, Populists to try to break up monopoly power, and Progressives to fight for the constitutional right to form a union. During Reconstruction, Radical Republicans argued in this tradition that racial equality required breaking up the oligarchy of slave power and distributing wealth and opportunity to former slaves and their descendants. President Franklin Roosevelt and the New Dealers built their politics around this tradition, winning the fight against the “economic royalists” and “industrial despots.”
But today, as we enter a new Gilded Age, this tradition in progressive American economic and political thought lies dormant. The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution begins the work of recovering it and exploring its profound implications for our deeply unequal society and badly damaged democracy.
China has always viewed itself as a vulnerable underdeveloped country. In the 1990s, it began negotiating economic agreements and creating China-centric institutions, culminating in the 2000s in numerous institutions and ultimately the Belt and Road Initiative. The authors analyze China’s political and diplomatic, economic, and military engagement with the Developing World and discuss specific countries that are most important to China.