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Price Governance Salons

Through the Governance Salons, the Price School hosts faculty to explore issues relating to effective governance and public management. We create a unique opportunity for our students and faculty to meet and engage with top researchers in the field and encourage participation between speakers and audience in order to foster discussion and collaboration. Harkening back to the origins of the “salon,” our goal is to create a space for our students and faculty to exchange ideas. The Bedrosian Center has helped USC Price plan this series since its inception in 2005.


Fragmented Democracy

March 9, 2020

Jamila Michener (Cornell University)

Medicaid is the single largest public health insurer in the United States, covering upward of 70 million Americans. Crucially, Medicaid is also an intergovernmental program that yokes poverty to federalism: the federal government determines its broad contours, while states have tremendous discretion over how it is designed and implemented. Where some locales are generous and openhanded, others are tightfisted and punitive.

In Fragmented Democracy, Jamila Michener demonstrates the consequences of such disparities for democratic citizenship. Unpacking how federalism transforms Medicaid beneficiaries’ interpretations of government and structures their participation in politics, this book examines American democracy from the vantage point(s) of those who are living in or near poverty, (disproportionately) black or Latino, and reliant on a federated government for vital resources.

Jamila Michener is Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University. She is a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Inequality, the American Studies Program, and the Africana Studies Department. She studies poverty, racial inequality, politics, and public policy in the United States. She received her PhD in political science from the University of Chicago and completed a postdoctoral fellowship as a Health Policy Scholar at the University of Michigan.


Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence-Based Medicine

October 15, 2018

Eric Patashnik (Brown University)

The U.S. medical system is touted as the most advanced in the world, yet many common treatments are not based on sound science. Treatments can go into widespread use before they are rigorously evaluated, and every year patients are harmed because they receive too many procedures—and too few treatments that really work. Unhealthy Politics sheds new light on why the government’s response to this troubling situation has been so inadequate, and why efforts to improve the evidence base of U.S. medicine continue to cause so much political controversy and public trepidation.

The book shows how the government’s efforts to promote evidence-based medicine have become mired in partisan debates. It also proposes sensible solutions that can lead to better, more efficient health care for all of us.

Unhealthy Politics offers vital insights not only into health policy but also into the limits of science, expertise, and professionalism as political foundations for pragmatic problem solving in American democracy.

Eric M. Patashnik is Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Master of Public Affairs program at Brown University. He is also is the editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law as well as Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.


Beyond Policy: Procedural Politics in Today’s Congress

November 6, 2017

Molly Reynolds (Brookings Institution)

Members of Congress often talk about congressional procedure in principled terms. However, political scientists have long argued that questions about the rules are really questions about who has power in the chamber and what policy outcomes can they produce with it.  This dynamic has been in the spotlight repeatedly during the opening months of the 115th Congress, where procedures like the Congressional Review Act, the budget reconciliation process, and those for confirming Supreme Court justices have been key to Republicans’ record.  In the contemporary Congress, procedural politics reach beyond just policy outcomes and into other issues, including executive branch oversight and congressional capacity.  Taken together, these various roles for congressional procedure suggest that understanding the rules of the institution is as important now as ever.

Molly Reynolds is a fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. She studies Congress, with an emphasis on how congressional rules and procedure affect domestic policy outcomes. Current research projects include work on the congressional budget process, especially the consequences of broader partisan dynamics on the consideration of the yearly budget resolution and appropriations bills, and on the consequences of federalism for national policymaking in the current period of unified Republican party control. She also supervises the maintenance of “Vital Statistics on Congress,” Brookings’s long-running resource on the first branch of government.

Reynolds received her Ph.D. in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan and her A.B. in government from Smith College, and previously served as a senior research coordinator in the Governance Studies program at Brookings. In addition, she has served as an instructor at George Mason University.


Hassles or Help: Compliance, Learning and Psychological Costs in the Administrative State

March 24, 2017
Donald Moynihan (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Administrative burden is conceptualized as a function of learning, psychological, and compliance costs in citizen-state interactions. Such burdens have a material effect on whether, and how, individuals receive public services, and in many cases are a function of deliberate political choice. The opaque nature of administrative burdens may facilitate their use as forms of “hidden politics,” where significant policy changes occur without broad political consideration. A variety of examples are used to establish a research agenda for administrative burdens in the field of public affairs.

Institutional Reform and Diaspora Entrepreneurs: The In-Between Advantage

February 6, 2017
Jennifer Brinkerhoff (George Washington University)

Externally-promoted institutional reform, even when nominally accepted by developing country governments, often fails to deliver lasting change.  Diasporans – immigrants who still feel a connection to their country of origin – may offer an In-Between Advantage for institutional reform, which links problem understanding with potential solutions, and encompasses vision, impact, operational, and psycho-social advantages.

Experiments in Public Management Research: Challenges and Contributions

January 23, 2017
Gregg Van Ryzin (Rutgers University-Newark)

Interest in experimental research in public management is on the rise, yet the field still lacks a broad understanding of its role in producing substantive findings and theoretical advances.  This talk outlines the advantages of experiments in public management and showcases their rapidly developing contribution to research and practice.  It offers a comprehensive overview of the relationship between experiments and public management theory and the benefits for examining causal effects.


Pay it Forward? Law and the Problem of Restricted-Spending Philanthropy

January 14, 2016
Brian Galle (Georgetown Law)

Check out the video.

American foundations and other philanthropic giving entities hold about $1 trillion in investment assets, a figure which continues to grow each year.  Philanthropic organizations spend only a tiny fraction of their wealth each year, even as urgent  needs go unmet. Restrictive terms in contracts between donors and firms limit the rate at which donations can be distributed.

Law has played a critical role in underwriting and encouraging this build-up of philanthropic wealth. For instance, donors can take a full tax deduction for the value of their contribution today, regardless of when the foundation spends the money, paying no tax on the investment earnings the organization reaps.

What, if anything, justifies public support for “restricted spending” charity?

The Bedrosian Center is honored to host the Price Governance Salons, a Dean’s series on governance. The event featuring Briane Galle is co-sponsored by the USC Center on Philanthropy & Public Policy.


Vanishing Public Administration: What Does it Mean and What Should We Do About It?

March 31, 2015
Paul Volcker, James L. Distinguished Professor and Editor-in-Chief of Public Administration Review

Check out the video.


In a recent speech, Paul Volcker, former chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and a highly respected voice for public service, was asked to examine whether United States governing bodies are meeting the needs of our citizens.  His answer was definitive and short: “The current state of our governance bodies is poor. Quite simply, they are not meeting the needs of our citizens.” Although Volcker spread blame for the failing widely, one governance institution about which he is particularly concerned is our public administration.  Have we lost our capacity to do the business of government?  Are we no longer capable of executing our public policies?  My presentation seeks to illuminate the question: Is public administration vanishing?  In answering this question, I draw upon research and experience, especially my own of the last forty years.  I also draw from my special vantage point of the last three years as Editor in Chief of Public Administration Review, now in its 75th year of publication.



Migrants, Remittances, and Elections

September 27, 2012
Benajmin Nyblade (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

Nyblade’s research focuses on comparative democratic institutions, with a particular interest in political parties, elections and parliamentary democracy in Japan and Western Europe. Current research projects include analysis of the consequences of electoral reforms, the role of party leaders and prime ministers and the dynamics of coalition government.

Check out the video here.

Does State Financial Aid Affect Institutional Aid?

October 4, 2012
Luciana Dar (University of California, Riverside)
Dar’s research interests fall into three interconnected areas of inquiry: comparative political economy of higher education, the relationship between higher education and social inequality and the politics of higher education. She approaches each of these areas with a combination of theoretical and methodological tools from the positive political economy, comparative politics and public finance literatures in close connection with insights from the higher education field.

Check out the video here.

Job Market Politics: Career Paths of Bureaucrats

October 18, 2012
Manuel Teodoro (Colgate University)
Teodoro’s research employs both statistical analysis and interview-based and mixed-method case studies. His first book, Bureaucratic Ambition (2011, Johns Hopkins University Press), advances a theory of bureaucratic policy entrepreneurship, its effects on innovation in public agencies, and its impact on democratic governance. Current research efforts include a national study of utility CEOs’ management and political behavior, a project on the relationships between public agency executives and their elected officials, and an analysis of the impact of independent technocratic agencies on the politics of industry privatization in Africa.

Check out the video here.

Judicial Nominations and Policy Outcomes

November 8, 2012
Tonja Jacobi (Northwestern University)
Jacobi’s research focuses on judicial politics and behavior, federal courts, American governmental institutions and constitutional law, particularly constitutional criminal procedure. The driving question in her research is: how do judges respond to institutional constraints? This includes vertical constraints, such as the possibility of review by a higher court; horizontal constraints, such as how to craft a broad coalition on a multi-judge panel; as well as judicial role constraints, such as how can judges address an issue they are interested in if the parties have not argued that question before the court. She combines doctrinal, empirical and formal analysis to predict and analyze strategic judicial behavior in response to such constraints.

Check out the video here.

2011- 2012

Political Geography, Campaign Contributions, and Representation

March 21, 2012
Elisabeth R. Gerber (University of Michigan) discussed how we understand and study political behavior and the interest that citizens have for elections outside of their own congressional district.

Check out the video here.

Presidential Rhetoric and the Public Agenda: Constructing the War on Drugs

November 15, 2011
Andy Whitford (University of Georgia)

Whitford, one of the best public administration scholars, used mixed methods to examine the president’s rhetorical strategies in the “War on Drugs.”

Check out the video here.

The Concept, Origins and Effects of Issue Ownership

October 25, 2011
Stefaan Walgrave (University of Antrwerp)

Walgrave, a specialist in social movements and public policy, spoke about issue ownership within a international comparative context.

Check out the video here.

The Judicial Business Cycle

October 3, 2011
Nancy Staudt, a new colleague in the USC Price and Law Schools that year as well as a major tax scholar, discussed evidence that macroeconomic conditions impact judicial decisions.

Check out the video here.

Competing Solutions to the Principal-Agent Model

September 20, 2011
Steve Haptonstahl (UCDavis)

Haptonstahl offered insight on statistical approaches for studying principal-agent relationships.

Check out the video here.

American Ideology: Conservatism and Liberalism in Contemporary Politics

September 6, 2011
Morgan Marietta (University of Georgia)

Marietta discussed the disconnect between what political ideology is and what we think we mean when we talk about it.

No video of this talk is available.


Between Experts and Initiatives: A Field Experiment in Republican Consultation

February 17, 2011
Michael Neblo (Ohio State University) presented results from an experiment to connect members of Congress with their constituents and a discussion of those results with respect to how the public become informed about politics.

Check out the video here.

When the Smoke Clears: Expertise, Learning, and Policy Diffusion

January 27, 2011
Charles R. Shipan (University of Michigan) discussed his large-scale analysis of antismoking laws across the United States to look at policy diffusion and try to why some public policies are more successful in the long-run than others.

Check out the video here.

The Nexus Between Governance and Policymaking: Resource Dependence and the Study of American Politics

January 13, 2011
George A. Krause (University of Pittsburgh). discussed the nexus between organizations, American political institutions, and decision making behavior in policymaking.

No video available for this talk.

Congressional Development of the Institutional Presidency

November 15, 2010
Sean Gailmard (UC Berkeley), arguably the finest political economist working on public administration questions in the nation, discussed some key findings from a theoretical book project being completed in collaboration with John Patty (Washington University, St Louis). [update: June 2012 Gailmard and Patty’s book Learning While Governing: Expertise and Accountability in the Executive Branch was released December 2012.)

Check out the video here.

Public Management and Performance: An Evidence-Based Research Agenda

November 8, 2010
Larry O’Toole (University of Georgia), one of the most prolific public management scholars in the world, presented an overview of his work.

Check out the video here.


Presidential Politicization of Bureaucracy

April 26, 2010
David Lewis (Vanderbilt University)

Check out the video here.

Tax Expenditure Framework Legislation

April 7, 2010
Edward Kleinbard (USC Gould School of Law)

No video available for this talk.


For Whom the TEL Tolls: Can State Tax and Expenditure Limits Effectively Reduce Spending?

March 24, 2008
Mathew D. McCubbins the USC Gould School of Law, discussed

No video available for this talk.

The Promise of Voluntary Environmentalism: Green Clubs and ISO 14001

March 6, 2008
Matthew Potoski (Iowa State University)

No video available for this talk.

Strategic Network Management of Interorganizational Collaboration: From Theory to Practice

January 29, 2008
Danielle M. Varda from RAND Corporation [currently at the University of Colorado, Denver]

No video available for this talk.

Implementation of E-government at a Local Level: The Swiss Experience

December 6, 2007
Kuno Schedler from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland: “Implementation of E-government at a Local Level: The Swiss Experience.”

No video available for this talk.

Democratic Network Governance

April 2006
Eva Sorensen and Jacob Torfing (University of Roskilde, Denmark) provided an international perspective on the roles of networks in democratic governance.

No video available for this talk.

Coping with Healthcare Spending: The Mother of All Budget Problems

March 2006
Alice Rivlin of The Brookings Institution discussed research in progress on the role that healthcare spending plays in driving budgetary costs and social resource allocation.

No video available for this talk.

Dark Networks as Governance Problems

February 2006
Brint Milward of the University of Arizona, at a luncheon salon, made a presentation regarding “Dark Networks as Governance Problems,” in which he discussed the implications for policy and management of the growth in “dark networks,” illegal networked organizations that may be involved in such criminal activities as drug or human trafficking, arms and diamond smuggling or terrorism. At the dinner salon, he discussed the implications for administrative accountability and control of the increased reliance on third parties (private firms and NGOs) in the design, management and execution of policies.

No video available for this talk.

Building Organizational Capabilities for E-Government

January 2006
Jon Gant Syracuse University, discussed the organizational challenges to using information and communication technologies (IT) to deliver government services.

No video available for this talk.

Democracy and Representation in U.S. Local Governments

September 2005
Christine Kelleher, from the University of Michigan at Dearborn, presented research analyzing the relationship between metropolitan institutions and municipal responsiveness.

No video available for this talk.



Bedrosian Center