Recent Price Faculty Books
By Matthew Kredell
Bertelli’s new book helps students and scholars understand public-sector governance arrangements and their implications for public-management practice and policy outcomes.
“I have been working in this area for a long time and there was no text that brings these theoretical models in a systematic way to empirical researchers in public administration,” Bertelli said. “I also wanted to do something that was useful to master’s level students in public administration and policy programs like ours.”
Bertelli aimed to present a technical literature in a nontechnical way to allow readers to think clearly about many aspects of the modern administrative state and how they fit into a larger project of governance. Students in his MPA courses on Public Administration and Society as well as Business and Public Policy helped test the material.
One new area for study that emerged from the project is what Bertelli calls strategic capacity building. Incentives present in government contracting with the private and nonprofit sectors can influence the public policy agenda in their favor simply because they have developed the capacity to provide good outcomes in a way that serves their mission or core business.
Said Bertelli: “When nonprofits and private firms become involved in the contracting state, they travel a two-way street of policymaking with administrative agencies and politicians.”
For 30 years, Cooper’s The Responsible Administrator has been widely used as a scholarly source for researchers as well as the definitive classroom text in preparing students to become effective decision makers. Originally published in 1982, the book has been widely used around the world, with the previous two editions translated into Chinese as a required core reading for all MPA programs throughout China.
“It has had an enormous impact on my career by making my work known, generating speaking invitations and requests for me to write papers and articles for various events and journals,” Cooper said. “I believe it was one of the key factors in my election to the National Academy of Public Administration.”
Over the years, Cooper has relied on a series of doctoral students from USC Price to help with research for each edition. For this edition, Bryce Lowery, a Ph.D. student of urban planning, assisted Cooper.
New to the sixth edition is a greater elaboration of what Cooper calls the “design approach” to administrative ethics, a descriptive model of how people tend to make ethical decisions, and new material on the bystander syndrome of how people often stand by and watch unethical conduct.
A key element of the book is how the conduct of powerful people is shaped by the structure and culture of organizations in which they work.
“They may well know the right thing to do with respect to ethical problems but often do not act accordingly because the structure and culture of their employment organizations resists that kind of conduct,” Cooper said.
Another point of interest is that research shows people can learn to make better ethical decisions by acquiring analytical techniques and cultivating principled thinking.
Seeing a need for a graduate-level introductory textbook on freight, Giuliano set out to create a book that addresses freight transportation in a systematic, multidisciplinary and analytical way.
As director of the METRANS Transportation Center and senior associate dean for research and technology at USC Price, Giuliano used her freight research experience and expertise to co-edit the book and write a chapter on the public sector’s role.
“Efficient freight transport is essential to economic activity, has many impacts and is a major public-policy issue in every country, yet it is a little-known area of transportation research outside of business and logistics,” Giuliano said.
In addition to the traditional treatment of the four modes of transport – truck, rail, water and air – the book covers contextual topics such as the evolution of global trade, nature of the supply chain, technological evolution and the role of government. It also addresses planning issues and cross-cutting topics such as security, congestion, environment and labor.
In her chapter, Giuliano shows that, while the U.S. freight transport industry is privately owned and operated, the public sector plays an important role in ensuring safety, monitoring competition, regulating for environmental protection, imposing taxes and fees, and, in some cases, providing infrastructure and various services. She credits USC Price Ph.D. student Elena Maggioni for assistance in gathering data and information for the chapter.
Two key points set out in the book are that the flow of global trade is very fluid as a result of trade policies, technology and competition, and that environmental considerations are driving rapid changes in freight technology and operations.
Although he is known more these days for his photographic documentation of Southern California (it’s his photos that decorate the interior hallways of Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall on the University Park Campus), and his work in planning and design theory and urban spacial processes, the best selling of Krieger’s eight books is on physics.
The original book, published in 1992, is known for explaining how physicists make sense of the world in ways that everyone can understand. After 20 years, Krieger updated Doing Physics with a new chapter adding what he has learned on the meaning of mathematics in doing physics over the past two decades.
Krieger, who started at USC in 1984, developed much of the material in the book from a science course he was asked to teach in his early years at the University. He credits the school’s leadership from that period for not standing in his way when he asked to write a book that had little to do with policy or planning. “No one told me I should not do this since it was not city planning,” Krieger said.
There are some tie-ins between physics and planning, particularly when it comes to mathematical models.
“My work on mathematical modeling in physics comes out of issues I thought about when I first came to city planning,” Krieger said. “I wondered what people were inheriting when they used models from the physical sciences, for example the so-called gravity models in spatial analysis used in urban planning.”
A myth exists that Los Angeles is a city that is not planned, that it’s a sprawling private marketplace created by developers. The result is the idea that Los Angeles doesn’t have great streets or public spaces or other aspects of real cities.
“The book takes these piece by piece and tries to upset them, to reverse them, to change them, to critique them and interrogate them,” Sloane said. “Because, of course, like all myths they’re true — they’re just not totally true. They’re true in one sense and not in another.”
Produced to be a centerpiece of discussion at the American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference in Los Angeles last April, the book is a compilation of essays from more than 40 authors presenting a complex contemporary perspective on the city of Los Angeles and region of Southern California.
Sloane enlisted many colleagues, students and alumni from USC Price to contribute writing to Planning Los Angeles. These included faculty members Vinayak Bharne, Marlon Boarnet, Janis Breidenbach, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, William Fulton, Todd Gish, Juliet Musso, Dowell Myers, Christian L. Redfearn, and Lisa Schweitzer; graduate students Anna Jacobson, Sarah Mawhorter, and Joshua Wheeler; and alumni Amanda Berman, Meredith Drake Reitan, Lark Galloway-Gilliam, and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris.
Despite the city’s reputation for spontaneous evolution, significant planning went into the region’s freeways and continues today with the revitalization of downtown and the reemergence of rail transit over the past decade. The essays chronicle the successes, failures and future challenges of urban planning in Los Angeles.
“This is a very complex, messy, chaotic, vibrant, wonderful, depressing, frustrating city,” Sloane said. “It’s a place that has a very strong identity among planners. What the book tries to do is tweak that identity, to make that identity more complex.”
When it comes to federal budgetary issues, people think a lot about tax and spending policies established by the legislative and executive branches. Staudt, a professor of law and public policy, wondered if the judicial branch also plays a role in adjusting the size of the budget — particularly in times of war.
Courts – especially the U.S. Supreme Court – control a lot of money when people contest their tax bills. If the taxpayer loses in court, more money goes into the U.S. treasury. For her book, Staudt investigated thousands of Supreme Court and lower federal court opinions to determine whether the courts favor the government more in tax conflicts when the country needs money to fund costly military activities like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. She found that the government does in fact win more when the country’s national defense bills are high.
At the same time, judges are more likely to tighten the purse strings when there are indications that ongoing wartime activities undermine the nation’s interests. The book goes against conventional wisdom of judicial neutrality on budgetary issues, providing a new perspective that is generating discussion in political circles, among scholars and in classrooms.
“Courts appear to think about the budgetary consequences of their decisions in ways that are very surprising,” said Staudt, who came to USC Price in June of 2011 and also has a faculty appointment at the USC Gould School of Law. “When the courts have cases that involve the government and money is at stake, the courts are able to increase or decrease the size of the budget in extraordinary and hidden ways.”
Suro presents a series of powerful essays from leading scholars and journalists highlighting and framing issues surrounding immigration. The book grew from a conference that Suro and his co-editors held at Harvard University in 2008 uniting journalists and academics to discuss their work on this contentious topic.
“We organized the discussion because we had a feeling there’s not enough structured conversation between these two types of people who have similar interests and could benefit from talking to each other,” Suro said. “Scholars could benefit from understanding the ideas most relevant to current debates and journalists could benefit from hearing more in-depth research and the broader context you get from academic research.”
Suro himself is a veteran print journalist turned academic scholar. Once a journalist for The New York Times, The Washington Post and TIME Magazine, he turned to academia and now holds a joint appointment as a professor for USC Price and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Suro’s introduction looks at the commonalities and differences between how journalists and scholars approach the topic of immigration. Both groups tend to focus on immigrants as the protagonists of this process while giving inadequate attention to the economic social-political factors that generate immigration, particularly in the receiving country. He points out that academics lagged behind journalists in analyzing the business of immigration. That posed a problem because the short-term aspects of illegal immigration are an attractive target to journalists, despite the fact that most immigrants come to the country legally, which Suro believes led to some of the existing negative perceptions and public policy involving immigration.
The chapters touch on immigration topics including education, the criminal justice system, the economy and the psychological development of immigrant children, making the book applicable in a wide variety of academic courses.
Tang believes that, although most people tend to think first about deployment of financial and human resources when considering solutions to public policy and management problems, rules often are equally if not more important for getting problems solved.
He had always wanted to write a book for the general reader in China that would combine what he knows of modern social science with what he’s learned from reading Chinese history and studying contemporary Chinese issues.
“It is widely acknowledged that China has been very successful in growing the economy in the past three decades, but less so in dealing with finer governance issues such as those related to resolving social conflicts, product safety, reducing social inequality, fighting corruption, improving social services, and more,” Tang said. “My book provides ideas about how to improve China’s governing capacity for addressing these finer issues.”
The book was published in English and Chinese all in one volume. In brief, the 10 principles are:
- The difficulty for rule conformance is minimized;
- Rules are made to be clear and easy to understand;
- Informal rules are shaped to support formal rules;
- Widespread societal expectations for rule conformance are created;
- Enforcement is reasonable, fair and consistent;
- Rules are fitted to the characteristics and scale of the problem;
- Rules and public decisions are made at a level that is closest to the community affected by them;
- A facilitating framework exists for resolving conflicts when existing rules fail;
- Credible constraints are in place to hold accountable those who make and enforce rules;
- Rules are made to advance “self-interest rightly understood.”
How to use rules effectively to solve policy and management problems is an issue Tang covers regularly in his introductory lecture for students of the Master of Public Administration program – for which he serves as interim director – at USC Price.
Tang said: “My plan was to draw on ideas and examples I cover in my MPA class and relate them to situations in China.”