Welcome to Policy & Administration, a scholar-blog dedicated to contemporary thinking about the problems and prospects of contemporary public sector governance. Over roughly the next year, we will use this space to highlight both our own research in the areas of policy and administration and other interesting ideas and analysis from scholarship, the news media, and around the web.

Why Blog?

Let’s face it everyone blogs and, if you don’t, you may be inclined to ask why the world needs another. We have two objectives in mind. First, as academic researchers in the fields of public policy, public administration, and American government we are inspired by the profusion of “scholar-blogs” in recent years. We think scholar-blogs like The Monkey Cage, Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science , and Orgtheory are creating useful new venues for sharing knowledge. Our second objective is to contribute to public knowledge about issues of public policy and administration we think are vital and too little understood.

The term “good government” carries substantial baggage in the American context. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to sense a broad concern about the state of American governance not only among reform advocates, but among the public as a whole. The new presidential administration and its promise of “change” offer exciting new opportunities for government reform. Our hope is that this blog will contribute to the quality of thought and debate on issues related to our current research, such as:

  • the role of presidential appointments in the administration of federal government agencies;
  • the measurement, oversight, and evaluation of government policies and organizations;
  • a handful of specific fields of public policy including homeland security, science and policy, and professional governance.

Our editorial style will be unapologetically intermittent, hastily conceived, maybe even occasionally in error. Where the latter is true, we hope the two or three people who actually read what’s here will do us the service of letting us know. With those caveats aside, Patrick’s post today hopefully illustrates what we think is the utility of the effort. What is the status of the appointed executives staffing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)? As seems to be the rule in the contemporary system rules governing political appointees – it’s complicated. So, here goes…