Governance

Mass Administration Reorganization, Media Attention and the Paradox of Information

Mass Administration Reorganization, Media Attention and the Paradox of Information
Bertelli, Anthony M. and Sinclair, John Andrew, Mass Administrative Reorganization, Media Attention, and the Paradox of Information (May 16, 2015). Public Administration Review, Forthcoming; NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2607110. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2607110

Anthony M. Bertelli, John Andrew Sinclair
05/28/2015

How does media attention influence government decisions about whether to terminate independent administrative agencies? We argue that an agency’s salience with partisan audiences has a direct effect, but a high media profile can disrupt normal government monitoring processes and obfuscate termination decisions. We evaluate our argument in the context of a recent mass administrative reorganization by the British coalition government using probit and heteroscedastic probit regression models. Evidence suggests that termination is less likely for agencies salient in newspapers popular with the government’s core supporters, but not those read by its minority coalition partner. We also find that agencies with greater overall newspaper salience as well as younger agencies have a higher error variance.

Media Attention and the Demise of Agency Independence: Evidence from a Mass Administrative Reorganization in Britain

Media Attention and the Demise of Agency Independence: Evidence from a Mass Administrative Reorganization in Britain
Bertelli, Anthony M. and Sinclair, John Andrew and Lee, Haram, Media Attention and the Demise of Agency Independence: Evidence from a Mass Administrative Reorganization in Britain (May 16, 2015). Public Administration, Forthcoming; NYU Wagner Research Paper No. 2607087. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2607087

J. Andrew Sinclair, Anthony M. Bertelli, Haram Lee
05/28/2015

When administrative agencies are terminated, do they quietly fade from public view? On the one hand, the terminated agencies may have weak issue networks and agency reputations allowing them to lose public salience. On the other hand, strong issue networks and agency reputations may mean that termination increases attention to the agencies, making the government pay the cost of public attention generated by the actors within the issue networks. We assess these competing claims by using a unique dataset from a recent mass reorganization of independent agencies in Britain as well as data capturing media attention to agencies in major national newspapers. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find that the agencies subject to termination experience reductions in the number of media coverage in major newspapers, disappearing from public view during the post-decision reform period.

Where have all the reinventors gone? How government reform will shape the 2016 election

Where have all the reinventors gone? How government reform will shape the 2016 election
Governance Studies at Brookings

Paul C. Light
04/24/2015

The 2016 presidential election will likely feature two tough questions about government reform, writes Paul C. Light. First, should the next president cut federal programs to reduce the power of government, or maintain existing programs to deal with important problems? Second, should the next president winnow the federal agenda to a smaller set of priorities, or accept the current priorities and focus on reducing federal inefficiency?

A Water Availability Intervention in NYC Public Schools: Influence on Youth Water and Milk Behaviors.

A Water Availability Intervention in NYC Public Schools: Influence on Youth Water and Milk Behaviors.
American Journal of Public Health. 105(2): 365-372.

Elbel B, Mijanovich T, Abrams C, Cantor J, Dunn L, Nonas C, Cappola K, Onufrak S, Park S.
01/05/2015

Objectives. We determined the influence of “water jets” on observed water and milk taking and self-reported fluid consumption in New York City public schools.

Methods. From 2010 to 2011, before and 3 months after water jet installation in 9 schools, we observed water and milk taking in cafeterias (mean 1000 students per school) and surveyed students in grades 5, 8, and 11 (n = 2899) in the 9 schools that received water jets and 10 schools that did not. We performed an observation 1 year after implementation (2011–2012) with a subset of schools. We also interviewed cafeteria workers regarding the intervention.

Results. Three months after implementation we observed a 3-fold increase in water taking (increase of 21.63 events per 100 students; P < .001) and a much smaller decline in milk taking (-6.73 events per 100 students; P = .012), relative to comparison schools. At 1 year, relative to baseline, there was a similar increase in water taking and no decrease in milk taking. Cafeteria workers reported that the water jets were simple to clean and operate.

Conclusions. An environmental intervention in New York City public schools increased water taking and was simple to implement. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print December 18, 2014: e1–e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302221)

Government By the People, 2014 Elections and Updates Edition (25th Edition)

Government By the People, 2014 Elections and Updates Edition (25th Edition)
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2015.

Magleby, David B., Paul C. Light, and Christine L. Nemacheck
01/03/2015

Government by the People provides a thorough, Constitution-based introduction to the foundational principles, processes, and institutions of American government. Throughout, authors David Magleby, Paul Light, and Christine Nemacheck highlight the central role that people play in a constitutional democracy, inspiring students to see how similarities and differences in political beliefs continue to shape government to this day. The 2014 Elections and Updates Edition includes coverage of the major issues in today’s headlines to engage students in learning, as well as to boost the relevance of course material to students’ lives.

Federal Budget Reform: Lessons from State and Local Governments.

Federal Budget Reform: Lessons from State and Local Governments.
Pathways to Fiscal Reform in the United States, pp. 135-162. John W. Diamond and George R. Zodrow (Eds.). The MIT Press.

Rose, Shanna and Daniel L. Smith.
12/26/2014

As “laboratories of democracy,” U.S. state and local governments have experimented with a wide variety of fiscal institutions designed to constrain public expenditures and indebtedness, yielding a myriad of institutional arrangements the federal government might consider — or is already considering — adopting to improve its long-term fiscal outlook. A large empirical literature exploits this institutional variation within and across state and local governments to estimate the effects of fiscal constraints on spending, taxes, deficits, and debt. This paper, which draws heavily on Rose (2010), synthesizes the literature, summarizing lessons for the federal government about the effectiveness of various institutions in promoting fiscal sustainability. 

Decentralization in Uganda: Reforms, Reversals, and an Uncertain Future

Decentralization in Uganda: Reforms, Reversals, and an Uncertain Future
In Tyler Dickovich and James Wunsch, eds., Decentralization in Africa: A Comparative Perspective. (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2014).

Smoke, P., W. Muhumuza and E. Ssewankambo
07/25/2014

Uganda was long considered one of the most successful cases of public sector devolution in the developing world. The post-conflict national government began robust empowerment of local governments in the early 1990s. The drive for reform emerged largely from domestic political forces with little involvement of the external donor agencies that have often promoted decentralization in countries with similar development profiles. Two decades after this highly touted reform began, the system has severely deteriorated on almost every aspect by which decentralization is usually judged. This chapter documents the economic, political and social dynamics that led to the rise of decentralization and also laid the foundation for its decline. The chapter concludes by suggesting possible future scenarios for the intergovernmental system in Uganda and drawing potential lessons for other countries considering such bold reforms.

A Cascade of Failures: Why Government Fails, and How to Stop It

A Cascade of Failures: Why Government Fails, and How to Stop It
Brookings Institute, Center for Effective Public Management, Washington D.C., July 2014.

Light, Paul C.
07/14/2014

In this research paper, Paul C. Light writes that the “first step in preventing future failures is to find a reasonable set of past failures that might yield lessons for repair.” To meet this goal, Light asks four key questions about past federal government failures: (1) where did government fail, (2) why did government fail, (3) who caused the failures, and (4) what can be done to fix the underlying problems?

Three-Part Harmony

Three-Part Harmony
Public Administration Review. Volume 74 (January/February 2014) pp 112-113. doi: 10.1111/puar.12167

Glied, Sherry and Schachter, D.R.
02/21/2014

This is a commentary to an article in Public Administration Review about Danish public service employee motivation. The piece that we commented on noted that there are two dimensions for how Danish public service employees can choose to do their work, and that these motivations can shift over time: the author identified public service work being done either through direct service production/delivery or through service regulation/policy. Almost all possible public service jobs in Denmark are in governmental agencies.

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