Institutional Gridlock in the United States Congress: Built-In Limitations vs. Modern Requirements
During the 1948 election, President Truman campaigned against the “Do Nothing Congress” that had passed a total of 906 bills. The 114th Congress, which ended January 3, 2017, enacted a paltry 329. Among a variety of factors, an increase in partisan or institutional gridlock has been cited as a significant cause of legislative stalemate. By demonstrating the close interconnections between polarization, game theory, and gridlock in a comprehensive discussion, this paper presents a synthesis of the most important empirical and the theoretical developments in the emerging consensus on gridlock. The author further suggests that the evolution of empirical studies on Congressional gridlock in the post-Mayhew era has diverted attention from the possibility that gridlock might be, in some sense, desirable.
Systematic Failure: Mental Health Policy in the United States
The United States spends only 5.6 percent of its health care spending on mental health, and the associated problems tend to receive national attention primarily in the wake of mass shooting events. This policy aspect of mental health treatment appears to have faded from view in a relative way, and has devolved into a top-down and bottom-up failure. Government policy has been bifurcated between (a) paying private-sector actors such as pharmaceutical companies and hospitals to render outpatient treatment and (b) transferring de facto management of the mentally ill to prisons and municipal authorities. This paper contends that the ultimate reason for this devolution in mental health policy has been the successive failure of both institutionalization and deinstitutionalization, which in turn has reduced the policy scope that government can apply to the problem of mental health treatment. The reduction is best understood not as a single, simple reflection of either public opinion or political orientation, but as the result of a systematic, decades-long failure of two distinct policy approaches.
American Antipathy: Partisanship and the Decline of Political Empathy
Political parties in a polarized, unempathetic political climate often believe that they are losing ground and under some form of existential threat. These beliefs appear to do the emotional work of dehumanizing the other party and result in a loss of emotional and cognitive empathy. The purpose of this empirical study was to compare temporal changes in cross-party political empathy. Studying the period from 1980 to 2016, this study suggests that Americans who identified with a major party significantly reduced their empathy toward the other major party, with Chow breakpoint regression analysis identifying the mid-to-late 1990s as independent downward breakpoints for strong partisans of both parties. This finding was interpreted through Davies’ theory of revolutionary change and placed into the larger context of scholarly discussion pertaining to polarization.
Rethinking Negative Partisanship
The purpose of this study was to apply Stanga and Sheffield’s (1987) concept of partisanship as symmetry to the generation and exploration of negative partisanship based on American electoral data. The main contribution in this study is the generation of a mathematical concept of partisanship that defines negative partisans in terms of the degree to which there is an imbalance between own-party affinity and other-party antipathy. Four hypotheses were examined in the study: (1) Negative partisanship with respect to the major parties has risen over time. (2) Negative partisanship with respect to individual members of the major parties has risen over time. (3) Negative partisanship is equal between the two major parties. (4) The degree of negative partisanship influences the odds of voting for the self-identified party.
Suburbanization, Party Identification, and Partisanship in the United States
The purpose of this study was to draw upon data from the American National Election Studies (ANES) project in order to answer the following research questions: (1) What is the relationship between suburbanization and party identification in the United States? (2) What is the relationship between suburbanization and partisanship (intensity of party identification) in the United States? The main contribution of this study was a triangulation of previous empirical claims related to suburbanization as a right-leaning force in American politics, a triangulation that drew on 46 years of ANES data rather than data from a few Presidential cycles, and a triangulation that also highlighted the importance of independent political affiliations within the context of suburbanization.
Examining the Rationality of Carbon-Driven Economic Policies: Global Evidence and Implications for Decision-Making
Economically rational behavior is likely to be more important than social change in terms of determining the quality of the human response to climate change. The main drawback of previous methods of calculating the environmental Kuznets hypothesis (EKH) curve has been the absence of a time component, which not only precludes forecasting but also impedes the identification of when, if at all, a country might have transitioned to the downslope of the EKH. In this paper, a log-transformed, time-series ratio approach is utilized as a means of overcoming these limitations and generating the practical recommendations. The relationship between carbon emissions and economic developments in the context of the United States, China, and the world are examined.
Between Governance and Markets: An Assessment of the Roles and Rationales of Environmentally Oriented Boundary Organizations
All too often, researchers and policymakers speak tend to talk past one another, leading to recommendations from the former remaining unimplemented by the latter. Boundary organizations exist to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration and information flow and between the research and public policy community, and have become increasingly more common over the past several decades to fill this gap between science and policy. They require a substantial investment of time, money, and intellectual resources, and a number of these organizations have proliferated in the sphere of environmental science/policy to study and address persistent problems. This paper examines existing environmental boundary organizations, defines key terms, and offers case studies showing how they are able to exist within the gap between markets and governance.
The Price of Protection: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Involuntary Commitment
The stated policy justification for involuntary commitment typically involves protecting not only the safety of a potentially mentally ill individual, but also the safety of people who might otherwise be threatened by such an individual if he or she were not subjected to involuntary commitment. To date, arguments for and against these positions have been rooted in qualitative methods and approaches. However, in light of recent quantifications of (a) the value of life, (b) daily economic productivity, (c) the costs of involuntary commitment, and (d) the costs of crime, it is possible to take a more formal cost-benefit approach to weighing the benefits and disadvantages of involuntary commitment against each other. This study finds that there appears to be an empirical basis to retain involuntary commitment. This conclusion was lent context by a literature review of the history and contemporary dynamics of involuntary commitment, with special emphasis on the state of New York.
Understanding the Formation of American Mental Health Policy Preferences, 1952-1981
In this quantitative study of the formation of policy preference, the delay between the feasibility of the outpatient-centered, drug-based model and its adoption was explored through five research questions answered through corpus analysis and time-series statistics: How do shifts in (1) the sentiments of the American public; (2) the opinions of psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health experts; (3) formal and informal lobbying efforts by pharmacological companies and other commercial stakeholders in mental health; (4) the policy of individual states; and (5) the policy of the federal government explain the delay between the appearance of thorazine and the adoption of the current model of American mental health care? Findings were explored through the theories of multiple streams and disjointed incrementalism and demonstrated the existence of a robustly democratic period of policy articulation and explanation followed by a transference of public preference into governmental preference.