Currently, Professor Cooper is one of the co-principal investigators in the USC Neighborhood Participation Project. There, he conducts research on the role of neighborhood organizations in governance in the City of Los Angeles through the newly established system of neighborhood councils. He also provides leadership as director of the Civic Engagement Initiative at USC.
In 2010, Professor Cooper was elected a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). During 1993-94, he was a member of a national panel of NAPA where he developed a decision-making process to encourage intergenerational equity in the management of hazardous wastes by the U.S. Department of Energy. He spent the 1988-89 academic year on a Fulbright Lecturing/Research Grant at the Chinese University in Hong Kong. There, his research emphasized the conflicting loyalties likely to be experienced by middle- and upper-level public administrators during Hong Kong’s transition from the United Kingdom of China. Subsequently he coordinated research on administrative ethics in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Professor Cooper has conducted ethics training for numerous public agencies.
He is author of The Responsible Administrator: An Approach to Ethics for the Administrative Role (6th ed.), Jossey-Boss, (2012) and An Ethic of Citizenship for Public Administration (Prentice Hall, 1991). He is the co-editor of Achieving Ethical Competence for Public Service Leadership (M.E. Sharpe, 2013), Exemplary Public Administrators: Character and Leadership in Government (Jossey-Bass, 1992) and the editor of Handbook of Administrative Ethics (2nd ed., Marcel Dekker, 2001). His articles have appeared inPublic Administration Review, Administration and Society, International Review of Administrative Sciences, International Journal of Public Administration, Administrative Theory & Praxis, International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, Public Budgeting and Finance, and The Bureaucrat. He is a past member of the editorial boards of Public Administration Review and Administrative Theory & Praxis, and currently serves on the editorial board of The American Review of Public Administration.