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.
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.
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.