Politics

High Performance Government: Structure, Leadership, Incentives

High Performance Government: Structure, Leadership, Incentives
Rand,

Light, P.C. & Klitgaard, R.
01/01/2004

Fixing problems in the federal government. In 2003, the National Commission on the Public Service, chaired by Paul Volcker, issued a report detailing problems within the federal government today and recommending changes in its organization, leadership, and operations. This book suggests practical ways to implement the recommendations and defines a research agenda for the future. Thirteen essays address the primary problem areas identified by the Volcker Commission, and the commission report itself is included.

Welfare Caseload Change: An Alternative Approach

Welfare Caseload Change: An Alternative Approach
Policy Studies Journal, Vol. 31, no. 2 (May 2003)

Mead, L.
05/03/2003

In the last decade, caseloads in AFDC/TANF have shifted dramatically up, then down. Of existing studies based on time series or state panel data, some tend to underplay the role of welfare reform. All say little about that policies drove the decline or about the role of governmental quality. An approach using cross-sectional models explains interstate differences in caseload change rather than the national trend but allows more discussion about the role of policy and government. Results suggest that grant levels, work and child support requirements, and sanctions are important explainers of change, along with some demographic terms and unemployment. These policies in turn are tied to states' political opinion, political culture, and institutional capacity. Moralistic states seem the most capable of transforming welfare in the manner the public wants.

Erosion and Reform from the Center in Kenya

Erosion and Reform from the Center in Kenya
in James Wunsch and Dele Olowu, eds., Local Governance in Africa: The Challenges of Democratic Decentralization. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner Publishers,

Smoke, P.
01/01/2003

Kenya has a rich history of local governance, both from ethnic-group traditions and the system set up during the British colonial era, when local governments were fairly independence (1963), when Kenya's economy and population growth accelerated, demands were so heavy that some local governments could not deliver key services adequately. This situation, combined with the central government's desire for political consolidation to minimize ethnic power conflicts that increased in the postcolonial era, prompted the government to weaken local authorities. Key services (health, education, major roads) were recentralized, and the local graduated personal tax (GPT) was taken over by the center. Grants were established to compensate local governments for their revenue losses, but they were gradually phased out. Control over local governments expanded, with few spending, revenue, or employment decisions permitted without scrutiny by the Ministry of Local Government (MLG).

Financing the State: Campaign Finance and Its Discontents

Financing the State: Campaign Finance and Its Discontents
Critical Review 2003, Volume 15.

Kersh, R.
01/01/2003

Among the principal targets of criticism in recent American politics has been the alleged corruption, inequity, overall cost, and regulatory complexity of the U.S. campaign-finance system. Scholarship has not borne out any of these criticisms, and, if anything, empirical investigation suggests that the current system does a fair job in addressing�as much as this is possible under modern conditions�the problem of public ignorance in mass democracies.

Is Southeast Asia the Second Front?

Is Southeast Asia the Second Front?
Foreign Affairs, July/August 2002

Gershman, J.
07/01/2002

With U.S. troops on the ground in the Philippines and closer military ties developing to other countries in the region, Washington is taking the war on terror to Southeast Asia. But a military approach to the region's problems would be a deadly mistake: it could weaken local democracies and turn neutral forces into new enemies.

Government's Greatest Achievements: From Civil Rights to Homeland Security

Government's Greatest Achievements: From Civil Rights to Homeland Security
Brookings Institution,

Light, P.C.
01/01/2002

Government's Greatest Achievement's: From Civil Rights to Homeland Security was designed to understand what the federal government has most actively endeavored to do since World War II, identify the top achievements among its goals, and use its agenda from the past to weigh its most pressing priorities for the future.

Our tottering confirmation process.

Our tottering confirmation process.
Public Interest, Spring2002 Issue 147, p61.

Light, P.C.
01/01/2002

Examines the presidential appointment process in the U.S. Background on the confirmation process; Analysis of the confirmed appointees of several presidents; Cause of delays in the confirmation process; Role of the Senate in the confirmation process.

The Well-Informed Lobbyist: Information and Interest-Group Lobbying

The Well-Informed Lobbyist: Information and Interest-Group Lobbying
Interest Group Politics, 6th edition CQ Press,

Kersh, R.
01/01/2002

Interest Group Politics presents a broad spectrum of scholarship on interest groups past and present. In a time of partisan parity, when control of Congress is always within reach of the minority party at the next election, interest groups have every incentive to keep the pressure on. And they do. But the imbalance of influence that tilts toward moneyed interests is one of the cornerstones of the political system.

What does this mean for equal representation? In nineteen chapters, noted political scientists explore the role of money, technology, grassroots lobbying, issue advocacy advertising, and much more in interest group influence. Students will learn how the National Rifle Association has become one of the most effective lobbying groups in America, what opportunities the openness of the American political process has offered ethnic groups both within and outside the United States, how the role of interest groups in elections has changed (including 527's), what effect religious organizations had in the 2004 elections, and how interest groups affect Supreme Court nominations.

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