Politics and Public Policy
Strategic Actors and Policy Domains
- Donald C. Baumer - Smith College, USA
- Carl E. Van Horn - Rutgers University, USA
Public Policy & Public Administration
Getting beyond the traditional policy cycle discussed in most textbooks, the fully updated fourth edition of Politics and Public Policy offers a more comprehensive and realistic view of policymaking in the United States—one that looks beyond the jockeying between presidents and members of Congress, and explores the influence of corporate leaders, interest groups, bureaucrats, judges, and journalists. The book explores six distinct, yet connected, policy domains:
- Boardroom Politics (decisions by business leaders and professionals);
- Bureaucratic Politics (rule-making and adjudication by administrators);
- Cloakroom Politics (lawmaking by legislators);
- Chief Executive Politics (decision making by presidents, governors, mayors, and their advisers);
- Courtroom Politics (rulings by judges); and
- Living Room Politics (opinions expressed through the mass media, grassroots movements, political activists, and voters).
The authors’ unique framework prepares students to evaluate the strategies of various political actors within each domain.
Very thorough book, but I will use it as a supplement reading due to its primary focus on public policy making and approaches in the US.
1. The book is strongly well organized and very easy to follow, particularly for those who need to do speed reading. Summary of each chapter makes everything easy to compile. Getting the main ideas promptly from the book can simply done by turning to each chapter summary, of course for those who do not want to go through all pages and chapters.
2. Politics and public policy as two separate issues are well addressed and the data provided in the book is perfectly up-to-date. Although the notion of politics is relatively dominant over the public policy itself. The mix between the two also discussed both in conceptually discourse and empirically cases.
3. Chapter 4 is the one I have paid attention more, as one of my areas of interests is bureaucracy. Emphasizing civil servants as well as their behavior in running discretional position in policy making system is one of the strengths of this book. in fact, the case of EPA presented in the book has shown a very actual context of how most bureaucracy in the world should respond to and address climate change issue.
4. The so-called chief executive politics is an interesting term. In terms of its strategic position in political structure of decision making, this might be characterized not only in American political governance system, but also can be found in many cases in the other part of the world. This is partly due to the increasing demand for democracy everywhere.
5. However, since the authors of this book are from US, again I should say that the book is pretty much American minded as the cases presented in the book come from US. While I should admit that the cases (examples) provided in this book are extremely explaining concept on the ground, hence it could be a stand-alone constraint that hinders students to understand its application in their native home country. In addition, it might be, to some extent, discouraging non-US students to engage further in this book. A shortcut for this, the cases from European cases and developing countries would enrich and widen the horizon of the book.
6. This book is extremely useful for those who study politics and public policy, particularly those who interested in American cases. My final words would be, if this book is intended for US students and international students interested in US case, then it’s fine, and I would suggest to change the title by adding ”the Cases of American Politics and Public Policy”. Otherwise the authors shall start thinking to include what is happening beyond US and grab some lessons from the rest of the world.
I am grateful to both author and publisher for giving this opportunity to read this very interesting book. I think I would also strongly recommend my students back in my home country to look at the book, for its completeness and such an easy-to-read book.