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Full-Text Articles in Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation

Government Regulation: From Independency To Dependency, Part 2, Steven Alan Samson Nov 2014

Government Regulation: From Independency To Dependency, Part 2, Steven Alan Samson

Steven Alan Samson

What Robert Bellah calls ‘expressive individualism’ has led to unprecedented social legislation in America and expanded government employment since the 1960s, helping to produce a generous supply of public services, policy entrepreneurs, and clientele groups. The legal scholar Lawrence M Friedman notes that ‘the right to be ‘oneself,’ to choose oneself, is placed in a special and privileged position.’ As a consequence, ‘achievement is defined in subjective, personal terms, rather than in objective, social terms.’ When the claims of expressive individualism are considered in tandem with the increasing reach of the modern social service state, a case may be made ...


The Case Of Performance Measurement In Mobility Management Programs, Sarmistha Majumdar, Lalita Sen, Meredith Highsmith, Linda Cherrington Nov 2013

The Case Of Performance Measurement In Mobility Management Programs, Sarmistha Majumdar, Lalita Sen, Meredith Highsmith, Linda Cherrington

Sarmistha R Majumdar

The concept of mobility management has gained popularity over the last few decades. It refers to the provision of accessible, affordable, and multimodal transportation for all, including those who cannot or do not drive due to age, disability, or lower income. Mobility management programs can be found in large cities, urban areas, and rural areas. Evaluation of these programs is difficult in the absence of national guidelines. Consequently, many programs have developed their own measures, while others lag in performance measurement. This case study investigates the performance measures used to evaluate some established mobility management programs. Based on analysis of ...


Government Regulation: From Independence To Dependency, Part One, Steven Alan Samson Nov 2013

Government Regulation: From Independence To Dependency, Part One, Steven Alan Samson

Steven Alan Samson

What Robert Bellah calls "expressive individualism" has led to unprecedented social legislation in America and expanded government employment since the 1960s, helping to produce a generous supply of public services, policy entrepreneurs, and clientele groups. The legal scholar Lawrence M Friedman notes that "the right to be 'oneself,' to choose oneself, is placed in a special and privileged position." As a consequence, "achievement is defined in subjective, personal terms, rather than in objective, social terms." When the claims of expressive individualism are considered in tandem with the increasing reach of the modern social service state, a case may be made ...


Agency Input As A Policy Making Tool: Analyzing The Influence Of Agency Input On Presidential Policy Success In Congress, José Villalobos Aug 2013

Agency Input As A Policy Making Tool: Analyzing The Influence Of Agency Input On Presidential Policy Success In Congress, José Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

This study posits a theoretical framework for understanding the role and value of agency input in presidential legislative policy making. I assert that by employing agency input for policy development, presidents instill their proposals with a degree of bureaucratic objectivity, expertise, process transparency, and agency support, which aids their legislative passage while lowering the extent of changes made to policy substance in the process. To test my hypotheses, I conduct binary and ordered logistic regression analyses using pooled cross-sectional data across twelve administrations from 1949-2010. I find that agency input serves as a key component for increased presidential legislative success.


What We Do And Do Not Know: The Social Implications Of Defense, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii Dec 2012

What We Do And Do Not Know: The Social Implications Of Defense, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii

Bruce D. McDonald, III

The relationship between defense spending and economic growth has been a major topic of research and political debate for more than one hundred years. Although the relationship of interest is economically oriented, its theoretical underpinning has relied upon the social spillovers of the defense sector. This includes programs on community health, education, and access to technology. Despite this reliance, little is known about what social spillovers. This paper furthers our understanding of the defense-growth relationship by introducing the social spillovers that exist and clarifying how those spillovers occur. The author concludes with a discussion about the direction of future research ...


Manager-In-Chief: Applying Public Management Theory To Examine White House Chief Of Staff Performance, David B. Cohen, Justin S. Vaughn, José D. Villalobos Nov 2012

Manager-In-Chief: Applying Public Management Theory To Examine White House Chief Of Staff Performance, David B. Cohen, Justin S. Vaughn, José D. Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

In an effort to examine the causal determinants of performance dynamics for the administrative presidency, we apply empirical public management theory to White House administration to explain managerial performance. Utilizing original survey data that measures the perceptions of former officials from the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton administrations, we conduct quantitative analyses to determine the extent to which a chief of staff’s background, relationship with the president, and internal as well as external management approaches shape overall perceptions of White House administrative efforts. We find that managerial dimensions matter considerably when explaining the dynamics of White House ...


Politics Or Policy? How Rhetoric Matters To Presidential Leadership Of Congress, José Villalobos, Justin Vaughn, Julia Azari Aug 2012

Politics Or Policy? How Rhetoric Matters To Presidential Leadership Of Congress, José Villalobos, Justin Vaughn, Julia Azari

José D. Villalobos

In this study, we examine the linkage between presidential policy proposal messages and legislative success. Employing a dataset on presidential legislative proposals that covers the years 1949-2010, we find that politics matters less than policy. Purely political messages that reference the electoral logic of mandates or appeal to a sense of bipartisanship appear to have no impact on presidential legislative success, nor does policy signaling, though highlighting the role of agency-based policy experts in crafting legislation does. From these results, we conclude that although the way presidents communicate their messages to Congress represents an important component of presidential-legislative relations, it ...


Agenda Setting From The Oval Office: An Experimental Examination Of Presidential Influence Over The Public Agenda, José D. Villalobos, Cigdem V. Sirin Jan 2012

Agenda Setting From The Oval Office: An Experimental Examination Of Presidential Influence Over The Public Agenda, José D. Villalobos, Cigdem V. Sirin

José D. Villalobos

This study employs an experimental approach to isolate and directly test the extent to which presidents can affect public perceptions of issue importance and support for policy action, taking into consideration key factors that condition such effects. Our findings provide new empirical evidence that presidents can, in fact, positively influence public opinion through agenda setting, particularly by increasing the perceptual importance of low salience foreign policy issues. However, the results also indicate that such positive effects do not translate into public support for policy action; instead, presidential appeals actually decrease support. Last, our study offers new evidence that employing bipartisan ...


Moving Toward Comparability: Assessing Per-Student Costs In K-12, Robert J. Eger Iii, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii Dec 2011

Moving Toward Comparability: Assessing Per-Student Costs In K-12, Robert J. Eger Iii, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii

Bruce D. McDonald, III

The current classifications for public school costs are provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics. To improve comparability between school districts, this paper provides an alternative classification with fewer numbers of expenditure categories and sub-categories. We also introduce distinctions between school-based and non-school based administration costs and between elementary and secondary schools to provide an identification of possible sources of inefficiency. The new classification is then applied to five comparable urban school districts Atlanta, Boston, Mobile, Nashville, and Newark. We find (1) that teacher salaries per student are affected by school level disaggregation; (2) that separating administrative costs into ...


Staff Of The People? Assessing Progress In Descriptive Representation Under The Obama Administration, José D. Villalobos Nov 2011

Staff Of The People? Assessing Progress In Descriptive Representation Under The Obama Administration, José D. Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

Over the past few decades, presidents have made some increasingly noticeable efforts to fill their administrations with a higher number of minorities. Though not yet fully representative of the general public, such advances in descriptive representation are a sign of progressive change occurring within the executive branch, with positive potential implications for the state of representative democracy and public policy. In this article, I survey the current state of descriptive representation under the Obama presidency and the extent to which the president’s policy agenda has substantively addressed the needs of historically underrepresented groups. Descriptively, I find that President Barack ...


Where Does The Buck Stop? Applying Attribution Theory To Examine Public Appraisals Of The President, Cigdem V. Sirin, José D. Villalobos May 2011

Where Does The Buck Stop? Applying Attribution Theory To Examine Public Appraisals Of The President, Cigdem V. Sirin, José D. Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

This study applies attribution theory to examine public appraisals of the president. To date, most political science research on attribution theory has focused on domestic policy and no work has considered both domestic and foreign policy domains in tandem. To fill this gap, we formulate and experimentally test a series of hypotheses regarding the level of responsibility and credit/blame that individuals attribute to the president in both policy domains across varying policy conditions. We also consider how party compatibility affects people’s attribution judgments. Our findings provide a new contribution to the literature on political attributions, executive accountability, and ...


Promises And Human Rights: The Obama Administration On Immigrant Detention Policy Reform, José D. Villalobos Apr 2011

Promises And Human Rights: The Obama Administration On Immigrant Detention Policy Reform, José D. Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

This article evaluates the Obama administration’s efforts towards reforming U.S. immigration detention policies. Over the past decade, immigrant rights advocates have increasingly criticized certain policies of the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) system of immigration detention, including the widespread use of private contractors, lack of proper oversight, grouping of violent criminals and non-violent undocumented immigrants (particularly minority women and children) in holding cells, and neglect of detained immigrants in need of medical attention. In reviewing these developments, I contend that the Obama administration must take substantive steps towards reforming the existing system, particularly by instituting legally ...


Welfare Programs And The State Economy, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii, D. Ryan Miller Jan 2010

Welfare Programs And The State Economy, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii, D. Ryan Miller

Bruce D. McDonald, III

Welfare policy has been controversial and support is often drawn along political affiliation lines, the economic return of investment in welfare programs is frequently cited as a justification for new and expanded policies. To investigate the direct and indirect effects of welfare programs on economic performance, the authors develop a multilink approach, through employment and investment. The relationship is then tested with data from each of the United States from 1976 to 2006. Findings show welfare programs have no direct effect on a state's economy. Indirectly, welfare has a negative effect through investment, though the effect on employment is ...


The Bureau Of Municipal Research And The Development Of A Professional Public Service, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii Jan 2010

The Bureau Of Municipal Research And The Development Of A Professional Public Service, Bruce D. Mcdonald Iii

Bruce D. McDonald, III

This paper explores the professionalization of public administration in terms of its relation to the New York Bureau of Municipal Research. The formation of the New York Bureau of Municipal Research in 1907 served as the catalyst for the creation and expansion of a professional public service. Though public administration has failed to transform into a profession, this paper shows that the Bureau contributed to professionalization by (1) developing a body of knowledge and theory for the field; (2) developing a school in which to train persons in that knowledge; and, (3) promoting a place that the training and knowledge ...


The Obama Administration's Challenges After The 'War On Science': Reforming Staffing Practices And Protecting Scientific Integrity In The Executive Branch, Justin Vaughn, José Villalobos Nov 2009

The Obama Administration's Challenges After The 'War On Science': Reforming Staffing Practices And Protecting Scientific Integrity In The Executive Branch, Justin Vaughn, José Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

In this article, we examine the difficult leadership position President Barack Obama inherited as he took office with respect to science and technology policy making and implementation, particularly following the Bush administration and years of the so-called "war on science." We contend that the Obama administration's challenge is not only to take substantive policy action, but also to reform certain administrative practices, particularly in light of the previous administration's practice of the politics of strategic vacancies, a managerial technique that rearranges an agency's ideological inclinations not through the usual forms of active politicization (i.e., by filling ...


Presidential Staffing And Public Opinion: How Public Opinion Influences Politicization, José Villalobos, Justin Vaughn Dec 2008

Presidential Staffing And Public Opinion: How Public Opinion Influences Politicization, José Villalobos, Justin Vaughn

José D. Villalobos

Scholars traditionally frame presidential efforts to politicize the federal bureaucracy as the result of divergence between the president's preferences and an agency's output. The authors argue that presidential concern with agency output is dynamic and is in part conditioned by the president's relationship with the public. To assess the relationship between politicization and public opinion, the authors use a data set that combines information on presidential efforts to politicize the Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 to 2004 with that of public attitudes concerning the president's handling of the economy. Their results indicate that public opinion ...


The Managing Of The Presidency: Applying Theory-Driven Empirical Models To The Study Of White House Bureaucratic Performance, Justin S. Vaughn, José D. Villalobos Dec 2008

The Managing Of The Presidency: Applying Theory-Driven Empirical Models To The Study Of White House Bureaucratic Performance, Justin S. Vaughn, José D. Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

We argue that scholars of the presidency should begin to apply their rich descriptive understanding of White House organization and personnel to questions of causality. To help guide this effort, we offer a theory-driven empirical model that explains organizational performance. Importing theory from the public management literature, we show how scholars can use the Meier-O'Toole (MO) model to explain performance outcomes and dynamics for key political and policy functions within the institutional presidency. We introduce the MO model and discuss its potential impact on the field of presidency studies.


Obama’S Empty Cupboard: Contending With Administrative Vacancies And The Threat To Neutral Competence, Justin S. Vaughn, José D. Villalobos Dec 2008

Obama’S Empty Cupboard: Contending With Administrative Vacancies And The Threat To Neutral Competence, Justin S. Vaughn, José D. Villalobos

José D. Villalobos

In this essay, we focus on the public administration challenge concerning the rising number of politically motivated administrative vacancies resulting from George W. Bush's tenure in office with which President Barack Obama must now contend. We argue that the hyper-politicization of personnel decision-making during the presidency of George W. Bush left many parts of the federal bureaucracy understaffed, yet more densely populated by staffers chosen more for ideological and political congruence than administrative competence. For President Obama to achieve key aspects of his policy agenda, he must first attend to fixing these staffing problems and then to reforming the ...