Virtual Inequality

Author: Karen Mossberger
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589014817
Format: PDF
Download Now
That there is a "digital divide"—which falls between those who have and can afford the latest in technological tools and those who have neither in our society—is indisputable. Virtual Inequality redefines the issue as it explores the cascades of that divide, which involve access, skill, political participation, as well as the obvious economics. Computer and Internet access are insufficient without the skill to use the technology, and economic opportunity and political participation provide primary justification for realizing that this inequality is a public problem and not simply a matter of private misfortune. Defying those who say the divide is growing smaller, this volume, based on a unique national survey that includes data from over 1800 respondents in low-income communities, shows otherwise. In addition to demonstrating why disparities persist in such areas as technological abilities, the survey also shows that the digitally disadvantaged often share many of the same beliefs as their more privileged counterparts. African-Americans, for instance, are even more positive in their attitudes toward technology than whites are in many respects, contrary to conventional wisdom. The rigorous research on which the conclusions are based is presented accessibly and in an easy-to-follow manner. Not content with analysis alone, nor the untangling of the complexities of policymaking, Virtual Inequality views the digital divide compassionately in its human dimensions and recommends a set of practical and common-sense policy strategies. Inequality, even in a virtual form this book reminds us, is unacceptable and a situation that society is compelled to address.

Ambiguity and Choice in Public Policy

Author: Nikolaos Zahariadis
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 9781589012363
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Zahariadis offers a theory that explains policymaking when "ambiguity" is present—a state in which there are many ways, often irreconcilable, of thinking about an issue. Expanding and extending John Kingdon's influential "multiple streams" model that explains agenda setting, Zahariadis argues that manipulation, the bending of ideas, process, and beliefs to get what you want out of the policy process, is the key to understanding the dynamics of policymaking in conditions of ambiguity. He takes one of the major theories of public policy to the next step in three different ways: he extends it to a different form of government (parliamentary democracies, where Kingdon looked only at what he called the United States's presidential "organized anarchy" form of government); he examines the entire policy formation process, not just agenda setting; and he applies it to foreign as well as domestic policy. This book combines theory with cases to illuminate policymaking in a variety of modern democracies. The cases cover economic policymaking in Britain, France, and Germany, foreign policymaking in Greece, all compared to the U.S. (where the model was first developed), and an innovative computer simulation of the policy process.

Making Policy Making Law

Author: Mark C. Miller
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
ISBN: 1589010256
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
The functioning of the U.S. government is a bit messier than Americans would like to think. The general understanding of policymaking has Congress making the laws, executive agencies implementing them, and the courts applying the laws as written—as long as those laws are constitutional. Making Policy, Making Law fundamentally challenges this conventional wisdom, arguing that no dominant institution—or even a roughly consistent pattern of relationships—exists among the various players in the federal policymaking process. Instead, at different times and under various conditions, all branches play roles not only in making public policy, but in enforcing and legitimizing it as well. This is the first text that looks in depth at this complex interplay of all three branches. The common thread among these diverse patterns is an ongoing dialogue among roughly coequal actors in various branches and levels of government. Those interactions are driven by processes of conflict and persuasion distinctive to specific policy arenas as well as by the ideas, institutional realities, and interests of specific policy communities. Although complex, this fresh examination does not render the policymaking process incomprehensible; rather, it encourages scholars to look beyond the narrow study of individual institutions and reach across disciplinary boundaries to discover recurring patterns of interbranch dialogue that define (and refine) contemporary American policy. Making Policy, Making Law provides a combination of contemporary policy analysis, an interbranch perspective, and diverse methodological approaches that speak to a surprisingly overlooked gap in the literature dealing with the role of the courts in the American policymaking process. It will undoubtedly have significant impact on scholarship about national lawmaking, national politics, and constitutional law. For scholars and students in government and law—as well as for concerned citizenry—this book unravels the complicated interplay of governmental agencies and provides a heretofore in-depth look at how the U.S. government functions in reality.

Building the Virtual State

Author: Jane E. Fountain
Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
ISBN: 9780815798903
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
The benefits of using technology to remake government seem almost infinite. The promise of such programs as user-friendly "virtual agencies" and portals where citizens can access all sections of government from a single website has excited international attention. The potential of a digital state cannot be realized, however, unless the rigid structures of the contemporary bureaucratic state change along with the times. Building the Virtual State explains how the American public sector must evolve and adapt to exploit the possibilities of digital governance fully and fairly. The book finds that many issues involved in integrating technology and government have not been adequately debated or even recognized. Drawing from a rich collection of case studies, the book argues that the real challenges lie not in achieving the technical capability of creating a government on the web, but rather in overcoming the entrenched organizational and political divisions within the state. Questions such as who pays for new government websites, which agencies will maintain the sites, and who will ensure that the privacy of citizens is respected reveal the extraordinary obstacles that confront efforts to create a virtual state. These political and structural battles will influence not only how the American state will be remade in the Information Age, but also who will be the winners and losers in a digital society.

Lessons of disaster

Author: Thomas A. Birkland
Publisher: Georgetown Univ Pr
ISBN: 9781589011205
Format: PDF
Download Now
Even before the wreckage of a disaster is cleared, one question is foremost in the minds of the public: "What can be done to prevent this from happening again?" Today, news media and policymakers often invoke the "lessons of September 11" and the "lessons of Hurricane Katrina." Certainly, these unexpected events heightened awareness about problems that might have contributed to or worsened the disasters, particularly about gaps in preparation. Inquiries and investigations are made that claim that "lessons" were "learned" from a disaster, leading us to assume that we will be more ready the next time a similar threat looms, and that our government will put in place measures to protect us. In Lessons of Disaster, Thomas Birkland takes a critical look at this assumption. We know that disasters play a role in setting policy agendas?in getting policymakers to think about problems?but does our government always take the next step and enact new legislation or regulations? To determine when and how a catastrophic event serves as a catalyst for true policy change, the author examines four categories of disasters: aviation security, homeland security, earthquakes, and hurricanes. He explores lessons learned from each, focusing on three types of policy change: change in the larger social construction of the issues surrounding the disaster; instrumental change, in which laws and regulations are made; and political change, in which alliances are created and shifted. Birkland argues that the type of disaster affects the types of lessons learned from it, and that certain conditions are necessary to translate awareness into new policy, including media attention, salience for a large portion of the public, the existence of advocacy groups for the issue, and the preexistence of policy ideas that can be drawn upon. This timely study concludes with a discussion of the interplay of multiple disasters, focusing on the initial government response to Hurricane Katrina and the negative effect the September 11 catastrophe seems to have had on reaction to that tragedy.

We the People

Author: Benjamin Ginsberg
Publisher: W. W. Norton
ISBN: 9780393124378
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Politics is relevant.