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Power, Knowledge, and Politics: Policy Analysis in the States (American Governance and Public Policy series) Paperback – March 29, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: American Governance and Public Policy series
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589010493
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589010499
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #902,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Hird has produced a book of great merit and insight." -- Political Science Quarterly

"Hird has made a major contribution to the fields of public policy and public administration that enhances knowledge about the significance of nonpartisan policy research organizations at the state level. This book is a valuable resource for scholars and practitioners seeking to better understand the complex policy process in American politics." -- Public Integrity

"This book is a valuable resource for both students and scholars interested in the complex process of policy making in the United States. It is written in a manner that makes it accessible to readers without a background in research methodology and could be utilized in both a graduate or undergraduate classroom. Power, Knowledge, and Politics is a major contribution to the field of public policy, and a good read for anyone interested in policy making in the United States." -- Equal Opportunities International

"Hird conducts the first systematic study of nonpartisan state legislative policy research organizations. He not only describes these important political institutions thoroughly, he also evaluates their effectiveness and shows their place in the political process." -- Christopher Z. Mooney, editor, State Politics and Policy Quarterly

"Hird's thorough and well-written account should be on the bookshelf of everyone interested in the way policy expertise is institutionalized in governments." -- Bruce Bimber, professor of political science and communication, University of California, Santa Barbara

About the Author

John A. Hird is associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; author of The Political Economy of Environmental Risk; and coauthor with Michael Reese and Matthew Shilvock of Controversies in American Public Policy (3rd edition).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LEON L CZIKOWSKY on April 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book examines the different methods that state legislatures around the country conduct non-partisan research. The author interviewed legislators and staff around the country and examined these offices. It was found legislators use and place high value on this research. Yet, this research was also found to have limited influence on final policy decisions.

It was discovered these offices are far from being monolithic and vary widely amongst the states. The political and interest group influences that exist on legislators are found to be significant factors in how the legislatures organize their non-partisan research. Yet, states that create larger nonpartisan research offices are more apt to use their research. The book found that the ability of the nonpartisan research office to effectively communicate its research findings made that research more likely to be influential. Less important was the quality of the research. Research has to be noticed in order to have an impact, regardless of how good it is.

The book condemns the lack of empirical data in analyzing how policies are developed. The book further notes that few researchers have attempted to connect policy research into policy development, arguing that many legislators only seek policy research to justify the policy positions they have already taken. Sometimes legislators use nonpartisan research as a tool for delaying taking a position on an issue by using the research process as an excuse for not reaching a decision.

There is a scholarly debate about the use and effectiveness of non-partisan policy analysis.
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