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Can America Govern Itself?

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Part of SSRC Anxieties of Democracy

Frances E. Lee, Nolan McCarty, Anthony S. Chen, Lee Drutman, Matt Grossmann, Timothy LaPira, Brandice Canes-Wrone, Nathan Gibson, Daniel Gillion, Patricia Posey, Daniel Schlozman, Sam Rosenfeld, Peter Hanson, James Curry, Kenneth Benoit, Kevin Munger, Arthur Spirling, Suzanne Mettler, Claire Leavitt, David Spence
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  • Date Published: July 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108497299

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About the Authors
  • Can America Govern Itself? brings together a diverse group of distinguished scholars to analyze how rising party polarization and economic inequality have affected the performance of American governing institutions. It is organized around two themes: the changing nature of representation in the United States; and how changes in the political environment have affected the internal processes of institutions, overall government performance, and policy outcomes. The chapters in this volume analyze concerns about power, influence and representation in American politics, the quality of deliberation and political communications, the management and implementation of public policy, and the performance of an eighteenth century constitution in today's polarized political environment. These renowned scholars provide a deeper and more systematic grasp of what is new, and what is perennial in challenges to democracy at a fraught moment.

    • Focuses on key normative concerns about the performance of American governing institutions
    • Synthesizes numerous literatures and brings new data to bear on key questions
    • Points to new directions for research on American politics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Lee and McCarty have put together a stellar team of authors to address one of the most critical questions facing Americans: can our governing institutions cope with intense partisan polarization? The resulting chapters offer valuable insights into how representation, lawmaking, and policy implementation work - and fail to work - in our political system.' Eric Schickler, University of California, Berkeley

    'America's democratic institutions - in Washington and beyond - are under stress. This robust volume brings together an all-star cast of scholars to probe the nation's governing capacity and to consider the prospects for significant reform.' Sarah Binder, George Washington University, Washington DC and The Brookings Institution

    'With public trust in political institutions plummeting, parties growing ever more divided, and our elected leaders failing to attend to pressing national problems, we are right to wonder whether our political system is up to the most basic tasks of governance. In this fine volume, Frances E. Lee and Nolan McCarty assemble a terrific group of scholars who offer a range of answers - some reassuring, some not - that reformers would do well to heed in this age of anxiety.' William Howell, University of Chicago

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108497299
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 55 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Anxieties of American democracy Frances E. Lee and Nolan McCarty
    Part I. Anxieties of Power, Influence, and Representation:
    2. In the private interest? Business influence and American democracy Anthony S. Chen
    3. The interest group top tier: lobbying inequality and American governance Lee Drutman, Matt Grossmann and Timothy LaPira
    4. Developments in Congressional responsiveness to donor opinion Brandice Canes-Wrone and Nathan Gibson
    5. Minority protest and the early stages of governmental responsiveness in the electoral process Daniel Gillion and Patricia Posey
    6. The hollow parties Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld
    Part II. Procedural Anxieties:
    7. Does regular order produce a more deliberative Congress? Evidence from the annual appropriations process Lee Drutman and Peter Hanson
    8. Congress at work: legislative capacity and entrepreneurship in the contemporary Congress James Curry and Frances Lee
    9. Dumbing down? Trends in the complexity of political communication Kenneth Benoit, Kevin Munger and Arthur Spirling
    Part III. Anxieties of Governance:
    10. Public policy and political dysfunction: the policyscape, policy maintenance, and oversight Suzanne Mettler and Claire Leavitt
    11. The effects of partisan polarization on the bureaucracy David Spence
    12. Polarization and the changing American constitutional system Nolan McCarty.

  • Editors

    Frances E. Lee, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Frances E. Lee is Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is author of Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign (2016), Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the US Senate (2009) and coauthor of Sizing Up The Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation (1999). Her books have received national recognition, including the American Political Science Association's Richard F. Fenno Award and the D. B. Hardeman Award presented by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation for the best book on a congressional topic.

    Nolan McCarty, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Nolan McCarty is the Susan Dod Brown Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, New Jersey. He has co-authored three books: Political Game Theory (Cambridge, 2007), Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches (2006) and Political Bubbles: Financial Crises and the Failure of American Democracy (2013). He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


    Frances E. Lee, Nolan McCarty, Anthony S. Chen, Lee Drutman, Matt Grossmann, Timothy LaPira, Brandice Canes-Wrone, Nathan Gibson, Daniel Gillion, Patricia Posey, Daniel Schlozman, Sam Rosenfeld, Peter Hanson, James Curry, Kenneth Benoit, Kevin Munger, Arthur Spirling, Suzanne Mettler, Claire Leavitt, David Spence

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