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Books from the Rockefeller Institute Press are exclusively distributed by the State University of New York Press:
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Click on the title of each book to order online from the State University of New York Press.

Books in Print:



New York State Government: Second Edition

Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States


Richard Kirsch
2012
$19.95 Paperback 978-1-930912-24-3
$19.95 E-book 978-1-4384-4349-2


Also available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Read the first chapter.

Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States offers a vivid, first-person account of how health care reform came to be. The book brings readers inside the biggest and most consequential issue campaign in American history. Fighting for Our Health recounts how a reform campaign led by grassroots organizers played a crucial role in President Obama's signing historic health reform legislation in March of 2010 — defeating powerful industry lobbyists and Tea Party activists.

The action takes place inside the Beltway — the White House, Congressional anterooms, and the streets of DC — and at hundreds of town meetings, demonstrations, and confrontations in places like Danville, Virginia and Lincoln, Nebraska.

The book describes the tense relationship between progressives and the Obama administration, as the President and his team both pushed for reform and made repeated concessions to the health care industry, while trying to squelch any pressure from the left.

Most powerfully, it is the story of the triumph of thousands of people who had seen loved ones die, families go bankrupt, small businesses ruined, and futures destroyed by the health insurance system in the United States.



New York State Government: Second Edition

New York State Government: Second Edition


Robert B. Ward
2006
$29.95 Paperback 1-930912-16-1
$30.00 Hardcover 1-930912-15-3



Read the First Two Chapters Download the Education Curriculum
  • What can citizens do to influence New York State government?
  • How powerful is the governor’s office in New York compared to those of other states?
  • What is on the agenda for “reform” in Albany?
  • Where do state tax dollars go? How accountable is Albany for the way it spends taxpayers’ resources on vital services?

These and other important questions are explored in New York State Government. This second edition features a penetrating look at the new agenda likely to be addressed by New York‘s new chief executive in 2007 and beyond. With five new chapters, the book also examines the issue of the upstate economy, New York‘s complex array of local governments, and the role of debt and public authorities.

In New York State Government, readers learn about institutions — the state Constitution and the three branches of government — and the essentials of current and historic state policies in education, health care, transportation, economic development, the environment, taxes, and spending. The book reveals the dynamics of how elected and appointed officials make decisions, and how policies change in response to motivated leaders and the will of the people.

State governments across America face important new missions, ranging from protecting homeland security to providing health care. New York State, a leader in activist governance for more than two centuries, is a model for analyzing responses to those new challenges.

Robert B. Ward has studied and written about New York State government for more than 20 years as a newspaper reporter and editor, as assistant to the chairman of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, and as director of research for The Public Policy Institute of New York State, the research affiliate of The Business Council of New York State. Mr. Ward became deputy director of the Rockefeller Institute in April 2007. A graduate of Syracuse University, he lives in Delmar, New York.



At the Front Lines of the Welfare System: A Perspective on the Decline in Welfare Caseloads

At the Front Lines of the Welfare System: A Perspective on the Decline in Welfare Caseloads


Irene Lurie
2006
$15.00 Paperback 1-930912-17-X


Welfare caseloads declined sharply after the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children and gave states new authority to reform their welfare programs. Because the implementation of these programs takes place at the front lines of the welfare system, where street-level bureaucrats have direct contact with clients, administrators must change their behavior to achieve reform. This book examines the behavior of frontline workers by analyzing a large sample of their conversations with clients in four diverse states — Georgia, Michigan, New York, and Texas. Changes in policies, processes, institutions, and resources produced changes at the front lines. Workers discouraged families from relying on welfare by mandating employment-related activities and supporting employment with child care, while continuing to operate a rigorous eligibility process.

Irene Lurie is Professor of Public Administration and Policy at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she has directed the Master of Public Administration and Master of Public Policy programs. She is the coauthor (with Jan L. Hagen) of a series of reports on Implementing JOBS published by the Rockefeller Institute of Government.



Funding Public Colleges and Universities for Performance

Funding Public Colleges and Universities for Performance


Joseph C. Burke and Associates
2002
$24.95 Paperback 0-914341-96-0



This book is the first comprehensive study of performance funding of public colleges and universities, which ties directly some state allocations to institutional results on designated indicators. Chapters examine performance funding as a national phenomenon, identifying the champions and critics of the program, the arguments for and against its adoption, the most common performance measures used for funding, the characteristics that separate stable from unstable initiative, and the inherent possibilities and problems.

Five chapters include case studies of performance funding in Tennessee, Missouri, Florida, Ohio, and South Carolina. Another chapter explores the reasons why Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, and Minnesota first adopted and later abandoned their programs. (Colorado recently readopted performance funding and Kentucky is reconsidering it.)

The final chapters explore problems with performance funding. One is the reluctance of the academic community to agree on reasonable goals for undergraduate education and to develop acceptable methods for assessing their achievement. Another is the failure to apply performance funding to the academic departments that are mostly responsible for institutional results on many of the performance indicators.

The book concludes that the future of performance funding remains cloudy. It states that one conclusion is becoming clear. Taxpayers are unlikely to accept forever the proposition that performance should count in all endeavors except state funding for higher education.

Joseph C. Burke was a campus president, provost, and interim chancellor of the State University of New York system and is currently director of the Rockefeller Institute’s Higher Education program.



It Takes a Neighborhood: Strategies to Prevent Urban Decline

It Takes a Neighborhood: Strategies to Prevent Urban Decline


David J. Wright
2001
$34.95 Hardcover 0-914341-83-9
$16.95 Paperback 0-914341-84-



The Neighborhood Preservation Initiative, a comprehensive community building program in ten neighborhoods from nine mostly midsized cities, is examined in It Takes a Neighborhood. Wright shows what was learned through NPI about the value of focusing on working-class neighborhoods, as well as how to think about and structure community building efforts generally. The lessons gained from NPI about engaging established, networked community organizations in deliberate action-oriented strategies, fueled by flexible funding, and linked to systems of local support, are shown to be applicable to a wide spectrum of community building initiatives.

The Pew Charitable Trusts created the NPI, targeting it toward working-class neighborhoods threatened but not yet affected deeply by decline, a significant departure from previous community development efforts. The neighborhoods possessed important assets such as strong community organizations, talented volunteers, and neighborhood strategies that could be capitalized upon, and neighborhood strengths that could be reinforced through relatively small investments as a way to prevent decline. Along with generating attention to working-class neighborhoods and public policy on their behalf, the goal of NPI was to help residents to improve their quality of life and learn how to sustain long-term community stability and vitality.

David J. Wright is director of Urban and Metropolitan Studies at the Rockefeller Institute.



Quicker, Better, Cheaper? Managing Performance in American Government

Quicker, Better, Cheaper? Managing Performance in American Government


Edited by Dall Forsythe
2001
$42.95 Hardcover 0-914341-85-5
$18.95 Softcover 0-914341-86-3



View the Preface of this Book

This volume is a rich compendium of experience and diverse views about systems for introducing greater rationality in American governmental systems. With contributions from skeptics as well as proponents, it adds to the debate over the utility of performance management in American government. Focusing on the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA), the authors also analyze performance budgeting and management in states and local governments.

Exploring the performance management movement, the book sets out the point and counterpoint between critics and supporters and provides a common vocabulary for discussion. Steps to improve performance measures are outlined, as well as a discussion of states' progress in managing for results. New survey data reporting on states' performance budgeting is also included.

The book reports on GPRA implementation at the Social Security Administration, advocates linking evaluation research with performance management systems, and discusses the limitations of performance incentives in the 1982 federal job training law.

Practitioners address the New York City Police Department's innovative "COMPSTAT" system for performance management, and review the recent history of performance budgeting in Florida. Also included are case studies from research scholars on benchmarking for Empowerment Zones, performance funding for higher education in the states, performance management in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program under the 1996 national welfare reform act, and performance issues in Medicaid, food stamps, and children's health insurance.

Contributors include Burt S. Barnow, Ann Blalock, L. Kate Boyer, Robert B. Bradley, William Bratton, Walter D. Broadnax, Joseph C. Burke, Kevin J. Conway, Geraldo Flowers, Dall Forsythe, James W. Fossett, Thomas L. Gais, Harry Hatry, Patricia W. Ingraham, Catherine Lawrence, Gerald Marschke, Julia E. Melkers, J. Christopher Mihm, Donald P. Moynihan, Richard P. Nathan, Beryl A. Radin, Allen Schick, Dennis Smith, Virginia L. Thomas, Frank J. Thompson, Katherine G. Willoughby, and David J. Wright. Dall Forsythe is a senior fellow at the Rockefeller Institute.



Managing Welfare Reform in Five States: The Challenge of Devolution

Managing Welfare Reform in Five States: The Challenge of Devolution


Edited by Sarah Liebschutz
2000
$34.95, Hardcover 0-914341-76-6
$12.95 Paperback 0-914341-77-4



The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 presented challenges to all states to alter their welfare programs and management systems. This book analyzes the responses of five states to those challenges. The book features similarities as well as differences in their implementation of welfare reform, within the context of their distinctive historical, political, cultural, economic, and demographic experiences. Public support for moving welfare recipients to work forms the common overlay; reorganized state-level administrative structures, and diverse local management and service arrangements differentiate them. The book chapters provide an in-depth account of welfare reform, its complex workings, and the important role played by political leaders at state and local levels in Florida, Mississippi, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The chapters are by Robert E. Crew, Jr., and Belinda Creel Davis of Florida State University; David A. Breaux, Christopher M. Duncan, C. Denise Keller, and John C. Morris of Mississippi State University; Janet Looney and Betty Jane Narver of the University of Washington; Thomas J. Kaplan of the University of Wisconsin; and Sarah F. Liebschutz of the State University of New York, who also wrote the introductory chapter.



So You Want to Be In Government? Handbook for Appointed Officials In America's Governments

So You Want to Be In Government? Handbook for Appointed Officials In America's Governments


Richard P. Nathan
2000
$9.95 Paperback 0-914341-75-8


Free PDF Version Available

In American governments, unlike in other countries, there are thick layers of officials in appointive offices. Thousands of people serve in these roles. They are "inners and outters" who serve "at the pleasure" of the officials who appointed them.

This small book — really a long essay — is intended to inform people who should be interested in these exciting, challenging leadership jobs inside America's governments.

It is hoped the ideas presented here and the advice proffered will stimulate interested citizens to seek and accept appointive office, and that this book will aid them in being successful in carrying out their responsibilities.

Richard P. Nathan is co-director of the Rockefeller Institute of Government.



Social Science in Government: The Role of Policy Researchers

Social Science in Government: The Role of Policy Researchers


Richard P. Nathan
2000
$38.95 Hardcover 0-914341-65-0
$16.95 Paperback 0-914341-66-9



Free PDF Version Available

This book presents a lively retrospective account of a career as an inner and outer in American government and academe by a social scientist who has spent many years conducting evaluation studies of what works — and what doesn't work — in domestic public affairs. The book uses rich histories of prominent policy issues and descriptions of major studies of welfare and job programs to bring to life crucial questions about how social science can best serve social policy.

This is a new, substantially updated, and expanded version of a book published by Basic Books a decade ago.

Richard P. Nathan writes about the real politics of social science research in a style intended to appeal to practitioners and students of American government. Reviewing the earlier version of this book, James Q. Wilson said Nathan "summarizes in plain English what he has learned about how to evaluate public policy. It is an important book for a political system that may have wearied of adopting programs simply because they make us feel good or serve ideological ends." Robert Reischauer, President of The Urban Institute, commented, "Nathan's book is essential reading for policymakers who must look for ways to identify efficient government programs."

Richard P. Nathan is co-director of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.



Implementing the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996: A First Look

Implementing the Personal Responsibility Act of 1996: A First Look


Richard P. Nathan and Thomas L. Gais
1999
$9.95 Paperback 0-914341-63-4



Click here for the Abstract of the book

Focusing on what happens to national policies after they are made, the authors discover that there are surprises in the implementation of the 1996 Personal Responsibility Act and its connections to other social agencies and programs. Bureaucracies typically don't change this much and this fast. Why did it happen this time around? The book highlights three S's to encapsulate the changes that are occurring — Signals, Services, and Sanctions. Emphasis is placed on "second-order devolution," the crucial role of frontline workers, the relationship between employment services and cash payment systems, varieties in goal clusters among the states and locally, the new role of "diversion" before welfare recipiency, and the condition and importance of welfare information systems.

Field researchers in twenty states are conducting this ongoing study in conjunction with Rockefeller Institute central staff.

Richard P. Nathan and Thomas L. Gais are co-directors of the Rockefeller Institute of Government



Learning from Leaders: Welfare Reform Politics and Policy in Five Midwestern States

Learning from Leaders: Welfare Reform Politics and Policy in Five Midwestern States


Edited by Carol S. Weissert
2000
$38.95 Hardcover 0-914341-67-7
$16.95 Paperback 0-914341-68-5


Read the First Chapter Read the Last Chapter

Several Midwestern states have been leaders on welfare reform in the 1990s and have led the way for other states in implementing the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. This book provides detailed analyses of the political rationales and processes that preceded the federal direction to states to dramatically alter their welfare programs and administrative systems. It discusses implementation choices as well as difficulties and successes in carrying out those choices. The book also analyzes the role of political parties, interest groups, foundations, think tanks, and academics in setting agendas and formulating policy. The book features chapters describing and analyzing welfare reform, both their development and implementation in five states — Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The chapters are by Charles E. Adams and Miriam S. Wilson of Ohio State University; Jocelyn M. Johnston and Kara Lindaman of the University of Kansas; Thomas J. Kaplan of the University of Wisconsin; Thomas E. Luce, Jr., of the University of Minnesota; Thomas Gais of the Rockefeller Institute of Government; and Carol S. Weissert of Michigan State University, who also wrote the introductory chapter. Carol S. Weissert is associate professor of political science and director of the Program in Public Policy and Administration at Michigan State University. She holds a PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has recently published articles in Journal of Politics, Health Affairs, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Journal of Health, Politics, Policy and Law, and Administration and Society, and is the co-author of Governing Health: The Politics of Health Policy (1996). She serves as co-editor of the annual review edition of Publius: The Journal of Federalism. Her current research and publications concern intergovernmental issues in welfare reform and health policy.



Evaluating Comprehensive State Welfare Reform: The Wisconsin Works Program

Evaluating Comprehensive State Welfare Reform: The Wisconsin Works Program


Edited by Burt S. Barnow, Thomas Kaplan and Robert A. Moffitt
2000
$18.95 Paperback 0-914341-72-3



Read the Introduction

The recent delegation of authority for welfare programs from the federal government to the states has stimulated increasingly complex and comprehensive reforms which seek in part to generate social messages that discourage dependency on public assistance, promote work, and influence family-formation decisions. The message-sending emphasis of the new reforms and their comprehensiveness often make them hard to evaluate through conventional experimental designs using treatment and control groups. This book offers a lucid discussion of issues involved in evaluating the new reforms, and applies those issues to the evaluation of welfare reform in one state, Wisconsin, which offers a leading example of comprehensive welfare reform.

The book opens with an overview of the different types of program evaluation and summarizes clearly the basic issues that are involved in their conduct. A discussion of general evaluation strategies for the new welfare reforms, such as the selection and use of counterfactuals, is followed by consideration of both implementation and impact evaluations of the Wisconsin program. The final section considers the evaluation of specific impacts of the Wisconsin program on economic well-being, family structure, child care services, child support, child welfare, and children with disabilities.

Burt S. Barnow is interim associate director for research at the Institute for Policy Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Thomas Kaplan is a senior scientist at the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Robert A. Moffitt is a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University.



The Day After Reform: Sobering Campaign Finance Lessons From the American States

The Day After Reform: Sobering Campaign Finance Lessons From the American States


Michael J. Malbin and Thomas L. Gais
1998
$38.95 Hardcover 0-914341-56-1


Read the First Chapter

For more than twenty-five years, campaign finance reform has been based on assumptions that no longer match the realities of modern campaigning. Despite this, many of the supposedly new proposals on the national agenda continue to be based on the old set of assumptions and to produce stalemate.

However, even while Congress has deadlocked, more than half of the states have revised their laws on campaign finance. Some of these are now being promoted actively as models to be emulated. Michael J. Malbin and Thomas L. Gais look at the states to see how campaign finance reforms have actually worked out — what has happened after candidates, political parties, and interest groups have had a chance to adapt to them.

This book is based on a fifty-state survey of campaign finance laws and their administering agencies, analyses of reports from the states that release candidate-level data, and extensive open-ended interviews with political leaders in half a dozen jurisdictions with among the most ambitious regulatory frameworks. It concludes with recommendations based on realistic assumptions set in a package that is designed to remain workable over the long haul.



New Life at Ground Zero: New York, Home Ownership, and the Future of American Cities

New Life at Ground Zero: New York, Home Ownership, and the Future of American Cities


Charles J. Orlebeke
1997
$42.95 Hardcover 0-914341-52-9
$18.95 Softcover 0-914341-51-0


Read the First Chapter

Not long ago, the South Bronx and other devastated New York City neighborhoods had become legendary as the worst urban war zones, so infamous that busloads of foreign tourists would ask to be taken there to snap pictures of the rubble. What's more, the city's treasury was empty, and the federal government under Ronald Reagan was pulling back from its commitment to confront the nation's "urban crisis." In New Life at Ground Zero, Charles J. Orlebeke traces New York City's dramatic comeback in the 1980s and 1990s, focusing on one organization, the New York City Housing Partnership, which helped spark the recovery by building thousands of new homes for the ownership market in scores of bombed-out neighborhoods in the South Bronx and throughout the city. As Orlebeke vividly recounts, this high stakes gamble was pulled off by a diverse cast of characters — sometimes working cooperatively, more often at odds, in the nation's most complex and contentious political environment. Behind the facade of "public-private partnership" presented by retired banker and civic leader David Rockefeller and popular mayor Ed Koch in 1982, lay minefields of conflicting interests, bureaucratic roadblocks, and clashing personalities.

In telling the Housing Partnership story, Orlebeke draws on a careful analysis of internal documents and communications and on interviews with the key partners, including city officials, Partnership staff, community activists, business leaders, home-builders, and buyers. Still flourishing today, the Partnership has branched out into rebuilding abandoned rental buildings with neighborhood entrepreneurs, and is also sponsoring the development of new retail stores in places once written off as hopeless. As such, it stands out as a useful model of community revival for other cities to study and adapt to their own local circumstances.

Reflecting on the Housing Partnership achievement, the author taps into his experience as a public official and a student of urban policy and argues persuasively that this story is an early example of an increasingly potent, national community development movement that challenges the conventional pessimistic view of the urban prospect.



Charter Revision in the Empire State: The Politics of New York's 1967 Constitutional Convention

Charter Revision in the Empire State: The Politics of New York's 1967 Constitutional Convention


Henrik N. Dullea
1997
$24.95 Paperback 0-914341-49-9


Few citizens know much about the constitution of their state. Some don't even know there is one. Yet state constitutions are basic instruments of our democracy. They structure state and local government and stipulate the rights of citizenship.

In New York State, as in others, the Constitution mandates a periodic vote on whether the state Constitution should be revised. In New York, a mandatory ballot question is put before the voters every twenty years — "Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?"

Seven months prior to the last such vote — which was held on Election Day, November 4, 1997 — the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government published companion books on the New York State Constitution — one a sourcebook on constitutional change in New York, the other a rich history of the last constitutional convention held in New York State, that in 1967.

The author of this book on the 1967 convention is Henrik N. Dullea, vice-president for university relations at Cornell University. He is a graduate of Cornell and received his Ph.D. degree in political science from the Maxwell Graduate School of Syracuse University. From 1983 to 1991, Dullea was director of state operations and policy management for Governor Mario M. Cuomo, responsible for the day-to-day activities of New York State's departments and agencies.



Decision 1997: Constitutional Change In New York

Decision 1997: Constitutional Change In New York


Edited by Gerald Benjamin and Henrik N. Dullea
1997
$29.95 Paperback 0-914341-50-2



The editors of this sourcebook on Decision 1997 are Gerald Benjamin, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of political science at the State University at New Paltz, and Henrik N. Dullea, vice-president for university relations at Cornell University. The material presented grew out of the work of the Temporary Commission on Constitutional Revision created in 1993 and chaired by Peter G. Goldmark, Jr.

Former New York State Governor, Malcolm Wilson, to whom this book is dedicated and who served as a member of the Commission, said of this compendium, "This volume deserves to have a long shelf life even after the people exercise their duty to vote on this issue in 1997. These papers constitute a valuable resource on our great governmental heritage."