Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bureaucracy And Democracy, Third Edition

As of today, the third edition of Bureaucracy and Democracy: Accountability and Performance has been published! Bill Gormley and I have updated the book in a number of central respects, in light of events such as the election of Barack Obama, the BP Gulf oil spill, and the global financial crisis. All of these changes aim to continue to position the book as a main source for making sense of the role of bureaucracy in making public policy in our democratic political system.

Here is how our publisher, CQ Press, is advertising the new edition. Click here to check out the book's website.

Given the influence of public bureaucracies in policy implementation, Gormley and Balla assess their performance using four key perspectives—bounded rationality, principal-agent theory, interest group mobilization, and network theory—to help students develop an analytic framework for evaluating bureaucratic accountability.

Thoroughly updated, the third edition includes:
  • new sections on education reform, the response to the financial crisis, and Obama’s support for “evidence-based” decision making at the state level;
  • new cases of government intervention in crisis, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2011 tornadoes in the Midwest;
  • new material on homeland security, including the successful takedown of Osama bin Laden;
  • additional ratings of the performance of federal agencies based on public opinion of government employees;
  • expanded discussion of networks and their increasingly important role in exchanging information and delivering public services; and
  • a new case study on the BP oil spill that applies the book’s four perspectives.
And here is what the back cover quotations say about the work we have done (thanks to our colleagues for taking the time to read and review our work!)...

"The third edition of Bureaucracy and Democracy: Accountability and Performance is a clear and cogent introduction to two problems: administering policy in a democracy, and running a democracy when policy is implemented by bureaucracies. As the best treatment of this topic written specifically for an undergraduate audience, the new edition of this very readable book illustrates the dilemmas and tradeoffs faced by both politicians and bureaucrats when they work together to achieve important policy goals."

- Andy Whitford, University of Georgia

"The book gives students a 360-degree view of bureaucratic involvement in the policy process, premised on the fundamental notion of accountability in the public sector. Then, case studies are used to supplement these perspectives so students can see them in action. Very nice ties are made between theory and practice."

- Casey LaFrance, Western Illinois University

"Bureaucracy and Democracy is more readable and more interesting than other texts, particularly due to its ample use of policymaking examples throughout. As an instructor, I appreciate it when the authors draw our attention to an incident or action involving a particular agency which aids in the understanding of the concept being discussed; and there is one on almost every page."

- Brian M. Harward, Allegheny College

Bureaucracy and Democracy, Gormley and Balla take on the hard task of making sense of one of our most complicated political institutions in the United States, and they accomplish this task readily. Students and other readers will find this book insightful and full of real-world examples. This book is a 'must read' for students of political science and public policy."

- Susan Webb Yackee


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Sea Of Black Heads Gets Bigger

In recognition of today's announcement that a majority of the Chinese population, for the first time in history, lives outside of the countryside, here is a picture we snapped a few years ago in the Beijing subway system. (And here is the story we originally attached to the shot.)