Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy since 1945 - Studies in Postwar American Political Development (Hardback)
  • Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy since 1945 - Studies in Postwar American Political Development (Hardback)
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Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy since 1945 - Studies in Postwar American Political Development (Hardback)

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£86.00
Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 22/05/2014
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This book presents a new view of American policymaking, focusing on networks of actors responsible for policymaking. Policy change is not easily predictable from election results or public opinion because compromise and coalitions among individual actors make a difference in all three branches of government. The amount of government action, the issue content of policy changes, and the ideological direction of policy all depend on the joint actions of executive officials, legislators, and interest group leaders. The patterns of cooperation among policymakers and activists make each issue area and time period different from the others and undermine attempts to build an unchanging unified model of American policymaking. In Artists of the Possible, Matt Grossman undertakes a rigorous content analysis of 268 books and articles on the history of 14 different major policy areas over 60 years, compiling and integrates these findings to assess the factors that drive policymaking. His findings-which collectively uncover the 790 most significant policy enactments of the federal government and credit 1,306 specific actors for their role in policy change, along with more than 60 circumstantial factors-overturn established theories of policymaking. First, significant policy change does not follow from the issue agenda of the electorate or policymakers. Second, neither changes in public opinion nor the ideology or partisanship of government officials reliably influence the amount or content of policy change. Instead, the patterns of cooperation and compromise among political elites drive the productivity and ideological direction of policymaking. Third, the policymaking roles of public opinion, media coverage, research, and international factors are all limited. Fourth, no typology can explain differences in policymaking across issue areas because the policy process is broadly similar except for a few idiosyncratic differences associated with each issue area.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199967834
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 596 g
Dimensions: 238 x 162 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This book is a significant contribution to policy studies. It is rooted in vast, meticulous research, and its 'governing networks' motif works out nicely. It throws an original light on the American policy explosion of the 1960s and 1970s. * David R. Mayhew, Sterling Professor of Political Science, Yale University *
Why does government do what it does? If Matt Grossmann is right, voters, elections, polls, and the media matter less than you think, and elite networks matter more. This data-driven book maps-quite literally-the internal dynamics that govern the networks that govern the rest of us. Its arguments will intrigue and often provoke conservatives and liberals alike. * Jonathan Rauch, Contributing Editor, National Journal and the Atlantic *
Artists of the Possible is certain to attract scholarly attention, spark debate, and spur new theorizing and research on American policymaking. Grossmann builds a new data set from hundreds of policy histories to challenge major approaches to understanding policy change and to formulate an alternative argument, one that raises fascinating and troubling questions about democratic government. * Thomas Mann, co-author of It's Even Worse Than It Looks *
Artists of the Possible is a major achievement. Using a unique data set, intelligent analyses, and careful consideration of how policy is crafted, Grossmann makes a compelling case that governing networks are critical to the policy-making equation. ...an absolute must-read for anyone interested in public policy - or, for that matter, American politics * The Forum *
Not only fascinating but pungent in the argument, Artists of the PossibleR exhibits a solid argument to the ebbs and flows of US administrations as well as sheds the light on understanding how governing elites have monopolised the political stability by the adoption of a decentralised system. * Maximiliano E. Korstanje, Int. J. Human Rights and Constitutional Studies *

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