Bureaucracy

 

UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

PSCI 298-301, Spring Semester 2011   

Prof. DiIulio and Mr. Tierney

Bureaucracy, Politics and U.S. Public Administration

Government “bureaucracies” are the “hands and feet” of modern democracies.  This seminar examines how U.S. public laws, policies, and programs are actually administered; explores theories of bureaucratic organization and “culture;” and, as all enrollees were notified in advance, engages students in a problem-solving learning (PSL) project that encompasses spring break week.  The PSL project focuses on how “food security” laws, policies, and programs funded in whole or in part by government have been administered in Philadelphia:

  • How, if at all, can government at whatever level (federal, state, or local) improve “food security” administration so that fewer children, youth, families, and communities in Philadelphia experience either periodic or persistent, either mild or severe, “food insecurity”? 
  • Or, to ask the same question in a different fashion, how, if at all, can more safe, humane, and cost-effective “food security” be achieved in Philadelphia through specific changes in the intergovernmental relations or “government-by-proxy” partnerships that presently define the public administration of relevant laws, policies, and programs?
  • In particular, what, if anything, can and should be done to predictably, reliably, and measurably improve the public administration of “food security” laws, policies, and programs in the summer months when most of the city’s public, Catholic, and other schools are not in session?  What, if any, role might Penn play in effecting that outcome?  And, regardless, if a model “summer food security” initiative could be developed and made to work well in Philadelphia, how, if at all, might the same model or kindred initiatives be replicated in other cities?

 

Grading: 40% individual participation/papers/quizzes, 30% task group (TG) work, and 30% class report.  Modal grade: A- or A.

Required Books: Purchase the specified edition of each required book via whatever supplier you choose:

  • Jeffrey Pressman and Aaron Wildavsky, Implementation: How Great Expectations in Washington Are Dashed in Oakland, U. of California Press, expanded edition, paperback, 1984
  • Donald Kettl and James Fesler, The Politics of the Administrative Process, Congressional Quarterly, 4th edition, paperback, 2008
  • Michael Hill and Peter Hupe, Implementing Public Policy: An Introduction to the Study of Operational Governance, Sage, second edition, paperback, 2009
  • Joel Berg, All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America?, Seven Stories Press, 2008
  • Janet Poppendieck, Free for All: Fixing School Food in America, U. of California Press, paperback edition, 2010

January 18: After “a Bill Becomes Law,” What Happens?

**Pressman and Wildavsky, entire

>>Write a memo in which you do the following:

(1) Summarize the classic tale of what it took to get a relatively minor Federal program implemented in Oakland (one page/250 word maximum);

(2) List by name EVERY government official and EVERY government agency involved in the law’s implementation; and

(3) Succinctly (150 words or fewer) state what you believe to be the three main lessons about “implementation” suggested by the case. 

Do NOT read or use or cite ANY sources OTHER THAN your own careful reading of the book. 

Due: Start of first class.

January 25: What’s “Implementation”?  Why Does It Matter?

**Hill and Hupe, chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4

**Kettl and Fesler, chapters 1, 2, and 3

**Read the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010” (S. 3307) that was passed by the House  December 2, 2010, paying particular attention to child nutrition and summer food service.

>>Note on Task Group (TG) Work: Each seminar student functions as a member of one of four task groups consisting of several other seminar students.  Each TG does various assigned work: in-class oral reports/presentations in which particular reading assignments are summarized, analyzed, or evaluated by one or more TG members (presentation/report format at the discretion of the TG, but usually 10-15 minutes, and never more than 20 minutes); independent research that sometimes includes a written product to be shared with the entire class; execution of tasks relating to guest speakers, spring break field research, and the preparation of the final class PSL report. 

Because a given TG may be responsible for reporting on a given reading, that does NOT mean that students not in that TG are not responsible individually for doing that reading.  By the same token, it is imprudent for a TG to divide up work such that only one or two members actually do the work relating to a given TG report or other assignment. 

In most real-life organizational settings (including public administration ones!), it is not uncommon for certain organization members to work hard and do more than their share while others work less diligently or even flat-out shirk.  Just the same, each TG gets a single letter grade for its work that is shared by all members of that TG; and a single letter grade is shared by all students for the final class report.        

TG1: Report on Kettl and Fesler, chapters 1, 2, and 3 

TG2: Report on Hill and Hupe, chapters 1 and 2

TG3: Report on Hill and Hupe, chapters 3 and 4

TG4: Report on Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

February 1: An Implementation “4H Club”: How, How Well, When, Where, and By Whom Do Federal Laws on Housing, Homelessness, Health, and Hunger Get Administered?

**Hill and Hupe, chapters 5 and 6

**Kettl and Fesler, chapters 10 and 12

TG1: Report on Child Nutrition Act of 1966

TG2: Report on Fair Housing Act of 1968

TG3: Report on Homelessness Assistance Act of 1987

TG4: Report on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

February 8: “Bureaucracy” versus Government-By-Proxy: Who Actually Makes, Funds, and Administers “Public Policy,” Where, and How?

**Kettl and Fesler, chapters 4, 5 and 8

**DiIulio, “Government By Proxy: A Faithful Overview,” Harvard Law Review, 2003: To be distributed in class on February 1.

TG1: Report on Welfare-to-Work Programs in Philadelphia

TG2: Report on Foster Care Programs in Philadelphia

TG3: Report on Toxic Waste Clean-Up Programs in Philadelphia

TG4:  Report on Prisoner Re-Entry Programs in Philadelphia

February 15: Food Security: Starving for Better “Politics”?

**Berg, entire

TG1:  Report/presentation updating Berg’s account/data on “Food Stamps”

TG2:  Written summary, Berg, chapters 1-5 (no presentation)

TG3:  Written summary, Berg, chapters 6-10 (no presentation)

TG4:  Written summary, Berg, chapters 11 through Appendix B (no presentation)

>>Write a paper (800 word maximum) expressing how well you think Berg understands (what Kettl and Fesler call) “the politics of the administrative process”; whether or in what sense you agree/disagree with Berg’s claim that “politics” is “the culprit” when it comes to America’s failure to achieve the “food security” goals that he favors; and whether you think (as Berg does) that a “new war on poverty” is either politically feasible or a necessary but insufficient condition for achieving some or all of the “food security” objectives that Berg espouses.

>>Between February 16 and February 21, each student must attend at least one screening of the 1968 CBS REPORTS video on hunger in America.  Times and other details relating to those screenings are to be announced in class on February 15.

February 22: Implementing Food Security I: A Million Severely Hungry Children

**Mark Nord, Food Insecurity in Households with Children: Prevalence, Severity, and Household Characteristics, USDA, September 2009 (to be distributed in class on February 15)

**Mark Nord et al, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009, USDA, November 2010 (to be distributed in class on February 15)

>>Guest Speaker(s):  We will be joined by one or more national food security experts, practitioners, or advocates.

March 1:  Implementing Food Security Policy II: The Philadelphia Story

**Jed Bergman et al, Ending Hunger in Philadelphia: Final Report of GAFL 343 Class, University of Pennsylvania, Fall Semester 2010

**Sean Tamba Matthew, Preliminary Report on Philadelphia’s Nutrition Development Services (NDS), University of Pennsylvania, January 2011

TG1: Report on Bergman et al, Introduction and chapter I

TG2: Report on Bergman et al, chapters 2 and 3

TG3: Report on Bergman et al, chapters 4 and 5

TG4: Report on Bergman et al, chapters 6 and appendix 

>>Guest Speaker(s):  We will be joined by one or more local food security experts, practitioners, or advocates.

SPRING BREAK: Monday, March 7 through the morning of Thursday, March 10, students participate in field trips, interviews, and service relating to their PSL initiative on food security in Philadelphia, working toward a final class report that authoritatively answers the following question from page one of the syllabus: 

In particular, what, if anything, can and should be done to predictably, reliably, and measurably improve the public administration of “food security” laws, policies, and programs in the summer months when most of the city’s public, Catholic, and other schools are not in session?  What, if any, role might Penn play in effecting that outcome?  And, regardless, if a model “summer food security” initiative could be developed and made to work well in Philadelphia, how, if at all, might the same model or kindred initiatives be replicated in other cities?

March 15: Implementing Food Security Policy III: A Reflection, De-Briefing and Planning Session

**Hupe and Hill, chapters 7, 8 and 9

>>Write a brief (400-500 word) reflection regarding what you have learned thus far about food security administration, couching your reflections in relation to the main ideas and arguments made by Hupe and Hill in chapters 7, 8 and 9.

>>We will use this session to de-brief on the spring break experience and to discuss where the class is with its PSL initiative:  How best to utilize the remaining six weeks and regular Tuesday sessions (March 22, March 29, April 5, April 12, April 19, and April 26)?  What’s the optimal mix of “academic” and “pure PSL” assignments, additional TG or other independent research or field work, additional class meetings with guests experts and officials (including Penn officials), et cetera?