We are seeking to understand how the placement of new information and telecommunication systems affects the form and function of cities and metropolitan regions. Just as the automobile shaped the pattern of metropolitan development in the twentieth century, information will influence the development of the twenty-first century. Communities, cities and nations without an advanced information infrastructure are destined to decline and diminish in importance.
I’m currently finishing a book on what the RAND Corporation knows about managing high-performing organizations. It’s a three-year study looking at RAND research on everything from army logistics to the quality of health care, and draws a number of conclusions about the characteristics of high-performing organizations and how, through careful and appropriate change, they can improve. I’m also conducting a study for the Carnegie Corporation about the value of the national infrastructure on associations, schools, college, universities, publications and networks that help individual nonprofits improve their performance. The basic question is – What works, what doesn’t, and what is the value of having a nonprofit infrastructure in the first place?
I've found Wagner to be one of the most exciting places for teaching and research I could imagine. The students are extraordinary; my colleagues on the faculty are diverse in their interests, but equally committed to excellence. My own focus is the relationship between policymaking and political reality—a topic that’s too often either ignored or given sort-shrift—but not here at Wagner. For example, I’ve been exploring both the policy reasons and the nature and management of political forces that made the difference between the failure of health reform in the Clinton years and its eventual passage under President Obama. My insights into this dynamic—which has shaped outcomes from Lincoln’s policies toward slavery, to the balanced budget, to the uses and misuses of the referendum process in various states—have been immensely enriched by my interactions with students and other faculty.
It is very difficult for businesses to compete globally if they have to comply with costly and cumbersome labor and environmental regulations. And yet, there is no development if workers are being exploited and the environment is being depleted. In my research, I study how government agencies, the bureaucrats who staff them, and the organizations they partner with use law to shape the competitive environment in which businesses operate. Can real-world, and therefore imperfect, government agencies promote sustained, equitable, and environmentally friendly growth even when beset by global competition? If so, how?
My research is focused primarily on the well-being of individuals and how this is shaped by the interaction of individual decision-making, market institutions and government policies. I’m particularly interested in the economics of aging and retirement, especially the risks facing older households. Recently, I’ve collaborated with Professor Jan Blustein to examine health outcomes and the labor market behavior of grandparents raising their grandchildren. This work will help in developing better policies and programs to support this growing yet vulnerable group that is performing an important social role.