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Controlling Technocracy

Author: Gregory E. McAvoy
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589013032
Size: 15.35 MB
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Disputes over hazardous waste sites usually are resolved by giving greater weight to expert opinion over public "not-in-my-back-yard" reactions. Challenging the assumption that policy experts are better able to discern the general welfare, Gregory E. McAvoy here proposes that citizen opinion and democratic dissent occupy a vital, constructive place in environmental policymaking. McAvoy explores the issues of citizen rationality, the tension between democracy and technocracy, and the link between public opinion and policy in the case of an unsuccessful attempt to site a hazardous waste facility in Minnesota. He shows how the site was defeated by citizens who had reasonable doubts over the need for the facility. Offering a comprehensive look at the policymaking process, McAvoy examines the motivations of public officials, the resources they have for shaping opinion, the influence of interest groups, and the evolution of waste reduction programs in Minnesota and other states. Integrating archival material, interviews, and quantitative survey data, he argues that NIMBY movements can bring miscalculations to light and provide an essential check on policy experts' often partisan views. This book will be of value to those who work or study in the fields of hazardous waste policy, facility siting, environmental policy, public policy, public administration, and political science.

School S In

Author: Paul Manna
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589014107
Size: 66.20 MB
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For most of the history of the United States, citizens and elected officials alike considered elementary and secondary education to be the quintessential state and local function. Only in the past four decades, from Lyndon B. Johnson's signing of the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to George W. Bush's ambitious but controversial "No Child Left Behind" initiative, has Washington's influence over America's schools increased significantly. Today, many Americans have become more convinced that the U.S. government and the states should play an increasingly important role in the nation's schools. In School's In, Paul Manna looks over forty years of national education policymaking and asserts that although Washington's influence over American schools has indeed increased, we should neither overestimate the expansion of federal power nor underestimate the resiliency and continuing influence of the states. States are developing comprehensive—often innovative—education policies, and a wide array of educational issues have appeared on the political agenda at the state and national levels. Manna believes that this overlap is no accident. At the core of his argument is the idea of "borrowing strength," a process by which policy entrepreneurs at one level of government attempt to push their agendas by leveraging the capabilities possessed by other governments in the federal system. Our nation's education agenda, he says, has taken shape through the interaction of policy makers at national and state levels who borrow strength from each other to develop and enact educational reforms. Based on analyses of public laws, presidential speeches, congressional testimony, public opinion, political advertising, and personal interviews, School's In draws on concepts of federalism and agenda-setting to offer an original view of the growing federal role in education policy. It provides insights not only about how education agendas have changed and will likely unfold in the future, but also about the very nature of federalism in the United States.

Ambiguity And Choice In Public Policy

Author: Nikolaos Zahariadis
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589012363
Size: 24.22 MB
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Zahariadis offers a theory that explains policymaking when "ambiguity" is present—a state in which there are many ways, often irreconcilable, of thinking about an issue. Expanding and extending John Kingdon's influential "multiple streams" model that explains agenda setting, Zahariadis argues that manipulation, the bending of ideas, process, and beliefs to get what you want out of the policy process, is the key to understanding the dynamics of policymaking in conditions of ambiguity. He takes one of the major theories of public policy to the next step in three different ways: he extends it to a different form of government (parliamentary democracies, where Kingdon looked only at what he called the United States's presidential "organized anarchy" form of government); he examines the entire policy formation process, not just agenda setting; and he applies it to foreign as well as domestic policy. This book combines theory with cases to illuminate policymaking in a variety of modern democracies. The cases cover economic policymaking in Britain, France, and Germany, foreign policymaking in Greece, all compared to the U.S. (where the model was first developed), and an innovative computer simulation of the policy process.

Collaborative Public Management

Author: Robert Agranoff
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589010185
Size: 51.23 MB
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Collaboration has become a commonplace term in the fields of public management and policy. This text examines the complexity of collaborative management, identifying the players, activities and policy instruments at work in the decision making process.

Dam Politics

Author: William R. Lowry
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 0878403906
Size: 20.60 MB
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The politics of building dams and levees and other structures are just part of the policies determining how American rivers are managed or mismanaged. America's well-being depends upon the health of those rivers and important decisions go beyond just dam-building or dam removal. American rivers are suffering from poor water quality, altered flows, and diminished natural habitat. Current efforts by policymakers to change the ways American rivers are managed range from the removal of dams to the simulation of seasonal flows to the restoration of habitat, all with varying degrees of success. Efforts to restore American rivers are clearly delineated by William Lowry in Dam Politics as he looks at how public policy and rivers interact, examines the physical differences in rivers that affect policies, and analyzes the political differences among the groups that use them. He argues that we are indeed moving into an era of restoration (defined in part as removing dams but also as restoring the water quality, seasonal flows, and natural habitat that existed before structural changes to the rivers), and seeks to understand the political circumstances that affect the degree of restoration. Lowry presents case studies of eight river restoration efforts, including dam removals on the Neuse and Kennebec rivers, simulation of seasonal flows on the Colorado river, and the failed attempt to restore salmon runs on the Snake river. He develops a typology of four different kinds of possible change—dependent on the parties involved and the physical complexity of the river—and then examines the cases using natural historical material along with dozens of interviews with key policymakers. Policy approaches such as conjunctive water management, adaptive management, alternative licensing processes, and water marketing are presented as possible ways of using our rivers more wisely. Dam Politics provides a useful and systematic account of how American waterways are managed and how current policies are changing. American rivers are literally the lifeblood of our nation. Lowry has written a lively and accessible book that makes it clear as a mountain stream that it matters deeply how those rivers are managed.

Lessons Of Disaster

Author: Thomas A. Birkland
Publisher: Georgetown Univ Pr
ISBN: 9781589011205
Size: 18.38 MB
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Even before the wreckage of a disaster is cleared, one question is foremost in the minds of the public: "What can be done to prevent this from happening again?" Today, news media and policymakers often invoke the "lessons of September 11" and the "lessons of Hurricane Katrina." Certainly, these unexpected events heightened awareness about problems that might have contributed to or worsened the disasters, particularly about gaps in preparation. Inquiries and investigations are made that claim that "lessons" were "learned" from a disaster, leading us to assume that we will be more ready the next time a similar threat looms, and that our government will put in place measures to protect us. In Lessons of Disaster, Thomas Birkland takes a critical look at this assumption. We know that disasters play a role in setting policy agendas?in getting policymakers to think about problems?but does our government always take the next step and enact new legislation or regulations? To determine when and how a catastrophic event serves as a catalyst for true policy change, the author examines four categories of disasters: aviation security, homeland security, earthquakes, and hurricanes. He explores lessons learned from each, focusing on three types of policy change: change in the larger social construction of the issues surrounding the disaster; instrumental change, in which laws and regulations are made; and political change, in which alliances are created and shifted. Birkland argues that the type of disaster affects the types of lessons learned from it, and that certain conditions are necessary to translate awareness into new policy, including media attention, salience for a large portion of the public, the existence of advocacy groups for the issue, and the preexistence of policy ideas that can be drawn upon. This timely study concludes with a discussion of the interplay of multiple disasters, focusing on the initial government response to Hurricane Katrina and the negative effect the September 11 catastrophe seems to have had on reaction to that tragedy.

The Government Taketh Away

Author: Leslie Alexander Pal
Publisher: Georgetown Univ Pr
ISBN:
Size: 15.38 MB
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Democratic government is about making choices. Sometimes those choices involve the distribution of benefits. At other times they involve the imposition of some type of loss-a program cut, increased taxes, or new regulatory standards. Citizens will resist such impositions if they can, or will try to punish governments at election time. The dynamics of loss imposition are therefore a universal-if unpleasant-element of democratic governance.