9780815731207

Promoting the General Welfare

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780815731207

  • ISBN10:

    0815731205

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2006-10-30
  • Publisher: Brookings Inst Pr

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Summary

The U.S. Constitution calls on the government to "promote the general welfare." In this provocative and innovative book, a distinguished roster of political scientists and economists evaluates its ability to carry out this task. The first section of the book analyzes government performance in the areas of health, transportation, housing, and education, suggesting why suboptimal policies often prevail. The second set of chapters examines two novel and sometimes controversial tools that can be used to improve policy design: information markets and laboratory experiments. Finally, the third part of the book asks how three key institutions --Congress, the party system, and federalism --affect government's ability to solve important social problems. These chapters also raise the disturbing possibility that recent political developments have contributed to a decline in governmental problem-solving activity.Taken together, the essays in this volume suggest that opportunities to promote the common good are frequently missed in modern American government. But the book also carries a more hopeful message. By identifying possible solutions to the problems created by weak incentives, poor information, and inadequate institutional capacity, Promoting the General Welfare shows how government performance can be improved. Contributors include Eugene Bardach (University of California-Berkeley), Sarah Binder (Brookings Institution and George Washington University), Morris P. Fiorina (Stanford University), Jay P. Greene (University of Arkansas), Robin Hanson (George Mason University), Charles A. Holt (University of Virginia), David R. Mayhew (Yale University), Edgar O. Olsen (University of Virginia), Mark Carl Rom (Georgetown University), Roberta Romano (Yale Law School), William M. Shobe (University of Virginia), Angela M. Smith (University of Virginia), Aidan R. Vining (Simon Fraser University), David L. Weimer (University of Wisconsin-Madison), and Clifford Winston (Brookings Institution).

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Part I. Introduction
1 Government Performance: Missing Opportunities to Solve Problems
3(16)
ALAN S. GERBER AND ERIC M. PATASHNIK
2 Policy Analysis in Representative Democracy
19(24)
DAVID L. WEIMER AND AIDAN R. VINING
Part II. Documenting Government Performance Failures
3 Sham Surgery: The Problem of Inadequate Medical Evidence
43(31)
ALAN S. GERBER AND ERIC M. PATASHNIK
4 Urban Transportation
74(26)
CLIFFORD WINSTON
5 Achieving Fundamental Housing Policy Reform
100(28)
EDGAR O. OLSEN
6 Fixing Special Education
128(23)
JAY P. GREENE
Part III. New Tools for Problem Solving
7 Decision Markets for Policy Advice
151(23)
ROBIN HANSON
8 An Experimental Basis for Public Policy Initiatives
174(25)
CHARLES A. HOLT, WILLIAM M. SHOBE, AND ANGELA M. SMITH
Part IV. Political Institutions as Problem Solvers?
9 Can Congress Serve the General Welfare?
199(20)
SARAH A. BINDER
10 Congress as Problem Solver
219(18)
DAVID R. MAYHEW
11 Parties as Problem Solvers
237(19)
MORRIS P. FIORINA
12 Taking the Brandeis Metaphor Seriously: Policy Experimentation within a Federal System
256(26)
MARK CARL ROM
13 The States as a Laboratory: Legal Innovation and State Competition for Corporate Charters
282(27)
ROBERTA ROMANO
Part V. Conclusion
14 Two Perspectives on Governmental Underperformance
309(16)
EUGENE BARDACH
Contributors 325(2)
Index 327

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