Wildavsky Forum Series

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Bounded Rationality and Politics

Jonathan Bendor

In Bounded Rationality and Politics, Jonathan Bendor considers two schools of behavioral economics—the first guided by Tversky and Kahneman’s work on heuristics and biases, which focuses on the mistakes people make in judgment and choice; the second as described by Gerd Gigerenzer’s program on fast and frugal heuristics, which emphasizes the effectiveness of simple rules of thumb. Finding each of these radically incomplete, Bendor’s illuminating analysis proposes Herbert Simon’s pathbreaking work on bounded rationality as a way to reconcile the inconsistencies between the two camps. Bendor shows that Simon’s theory turns on the interplay between the cognitive constraints of decision makers and the complexity of their tasks.

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Changing Inequality

Rebecca M. Blank

Rebecca M. Blank offers the first comprehensive analysis of an economic trend that has been reshaping the United States over the past three decades: rapidly rising income inequality. In clear language, she provides an overview of how and why the level and distribution of income and wealth has changed since 1979, sets this situation within its historical context, and investigates the forces that are driving it. Among other factors, Blank looks closely at changes within families, including women’s increasing participation in the work force. The book includes some surprising findings—for example, that per-person income has risen sharply among almost all social groups, even as income has become more unequally distributed. Looking toward the future, Blank suggests that while rising inequality will likely be with us for many decades to come, it is not an inevitable outcome. Her book considers what can be done to address this trend, and also explores the question: why should we be concerned about this phenomenon?

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The New Public Management

Improving Research and Policy Dialogue

Michael Barzelay

How policymakers should guide, manage, and oversee public bureaucracies is a question that lies at the heart of contemporary debates about government and public administration. In their search for better systems of public management, reformers have looked in particular at the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. These countries are exemplars of the New Public Management, a term used to describe distinctive new themes, styles, and patterns of public service management. Calling for public management to become a vibrant field of public policy, this valuable book consolidates recent work on the New Public Management and provides a basis for improving research and policy debate on managing public bureaucracies.

A copublication with the Russell Sage Foundation

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