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Public Policy

Christa Altenstetter

Christa Altenstetter and James Bjorkman eds., Health Policy (Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, 1998).

This book gathers together 28 articles previously published in medical and social science journals, to provide an overview of the field of American health policy. Each section includes articles culled from a span of several decades with historical timelines to show contemporary relevance and change over time. The six sections cover the foundations of health policy, socio-economic and political factors, American and comparative national experiences, opportunities and constraints on policy learning, and methodological issues of policy analysis, Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Christa Altenstetter and James Bjorkman eds., Health Policy Reform, National Variations and Globalization (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997).

Health policy reforms are often justified and sometimes generated by ideas - or misperceptions of ideas - about how the health-care system works in other countries. Many countries have attempted to restructure their health-care systems. Brazil, Germany, Israel and The Netherlands have introduced large-scale reforms, whereas France, Britain and Canada have targeted specific aspects. The issue remains on the agenda around the globe, including Eastern Europe and North America - where reforms are largely market-driven. This volume provides new information about these countries and regions in terms of both the financing and delivery of services. It compares selected systems in order to extract lessons or, more appropriately, cautions and caveats about easily voiced proposals for change versus the harsh realities of politics and the inertial constraints of bureaucratic organization. National variations in policy reforms are discussed in terms of managed care, health insurance, institutional ideas, and involvement of foreign experts.

Christa Altenstetter, Medical Devices: European Union Policymaking and the Implementation of Health and Patient Safety in France (New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2007)

Medical devices are the bread and butter from which health care and clinical research are derived. Such devices are used for patient care, genetic testing, clinical trials, and experimental clinical investigations. Without medical devices, there is no clinical research or patient care. Without life-adjusting devices, there are no medical procedures or surgery. Without life-saving and life-maintaining devices, there is no improvement in well-being and quality of life. Without innovative medical devices and experimentation, there can be no medical progress or patient safety. Medical devices and medical technology are used to create or support many different products and medical-surgical procedures.

This volume on the regulation of medical devices in the European Union, with a focus on France, tackles a topic of interdisciplinary interest and significance for policymakers in countries around the globe. The EU regulatory regime is one of three global regional regimes, and medical products manufactured in EU countries are sold worldwide. As countries confront an aging population on a global scale, with associated increases in chronic diseases, physical handicaps, and multi-morbidity, there will inevitably be an increase in the demand for health services and, concomitantly, the use of medical devices in medical and surgical procedures. This will be the case regardless of whether services are delivered in hospitals, doctors’ offices, or at home. The associated risks of a particular device will be the same whatever the country of origin for the device, or where the need occurs. Revolutionary medical advances increase diagnostic capabilities, but they increase the potential of harm and risks to patients.

Medical technologies and devices are used ethically most of the time; yet they have the potential for unethical use when scientific medicine is elevated over human life and death. Assumptions that are taken for granted can be dangerous to a patient’s health. That is why our understanding of appropriate and effective regulation of medical devices is significant to all people on all continents.

Alan DiGaetano

John Goering

John Goering and Ron Wienk eds., Mortgage Lending, Racial Discrimination and Federal Policy (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1998).

This volume, representing the outcome of a May 1993 U.S. HUD conference, seeks to answer two major questions: What evidence is there of discrimination by mortgage lenders? If discrimination is occurring, how powerful or significant a force is it? Evidence is presented in the form of statistical research, counterarguments from the lending industry, and transcriptions of two landmark federal court decrees.


John Goering (ed.), Fragile Rights Within Cities: Government, Housing, and Fairness (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 ).

How fair are America's urban housing markets, and how effective is the government at ensuring open and diverse housing options for minority groups? To answer these questions, Fragile Rights Within Cities offers a current social science and policy examination of the understudied issue of equal opportunity trends and enforcement practices in housing. The contributors to this collection - who are among the country's major analysts of race and ethnicity, housing, and public policies - provide a rich, multi-disciplinary assessment of government programs aimed at enforcing one of America's hallmark civil rights laws. By evaluating roughly 40 years of civil rights education and enforcement within the nation's effort to promote fairness in housing markets, these experts provide a sense of possible policy options for the future.

Thomas Weiss, Margaret Crahan, and John Goering (eds.),Wars on Terrorism and Iraq: Human Rights, Unilateralism, and U.S. Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2004).

Wars on Terrorism and Iraq provides a timely and critical analysis of the impact of the wars on terrorism and Iraq on human rights particularly internationally, as well as related tensions between unilateralism and multilateralism in US foreign policy. The distinguished contributors examine the consequences for international relations and world order of the traditional standard bearer for human rights and democracy (the United States) appearing not to be championing the rule of law and negotiated conflict resolution. The authors also suggest effective policies to promote greater fulfilment of human rights in order to achieve peaceful accord within nations, and stability internationally.

John Goering and Judie Feins (eds.), Choosing a Better Life? Evaluating the Moving to Opportunity Experiment (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press, 2003).

As the centerpiece of policymakers' efforts to "deconcentrate" poverty in urban America, the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) project gave roughly 4,600 volunteer families the chance to move out of public housing projects in deeply impoverished neighborhoods in five cities-Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Researchers wanted to find out to what extent moving out of a poor neighborhood into a better-off area would improve the lives of public housing families. Choosing a Better Life? is the first distillation of years of research on the MTO project, the largest rigorously designed social experiment to investigate the consequences of moving low-income public housing residents to low-poverty neighborhoods. In this book, leading social scientists and policy experts examine the legislative and political foundations of the project, analyze the effects of MTO on lives of the families involved, and explore lessons learned from this important piece of U.S. social policy.

Janet Gornick

Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers, Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2003).

In many countries in Europe and in Canada, family leave policies grant parents paid time off to care for their young children, and labor market regulations go a long way toward ensuring that work does not overwhelm family obligations. In addition, early childhood education and care programs guarantee access to high-quality care for their children. In most of these countries, policies encourage gender equality by strengthening mothers' ties to employment and encouraging fathers to spend more time caregiving at home." In sharp contrast, Gornick and Meyers show how in the United States - an economy with high labor force participation among both fathers and mothers - parents are left to craft private solutions to the society-wide dilemma of "who will care for the children?" Parents - overwhelmingly mothers - must loosen their ties to the workplace to care for their children; workers are forced to negotiate with their employers, often unsuccessfully, for family leave and reduced work schedules; and parents must purchase care of dubious quality, at high prices, from consumer markets. By leaving child care solutions up to hard-pressed working parents, these private solutions exact a high price in terms of gender inequality in the workplace and at home, family stress and economic insecurity, and - not least - child well-being. Gornick and Meyers show that it is possible - based on the experiences of other countries - to enhance child well-being and to increase gender equality by promoting more extensive and egalitarian family leave, work-time, and child care policies.

Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers. Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor (Verso, 2009)

In the labor market and workplace, anti-discrimination rules, affirmative action policies, and pay equity procedures exercise a direct effect on gender relations. But what can be done to influence the ways that men and women allocate tasks and responsibilities at home? In Gender Equality, Volume VI in the Real Utopias series, social scientists Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers propose a set of policies—paid family leave provisions, working time regulations, and early childhood education and care—designed to foster more egalitarian family divisions of labor by strengthening men’s ties at home and women’s attachment to paid work. Their policy proposal is followed by a series of commentaries—both critical and supportive—from a group of distinguished scholars, and a concluding essay in which Gornick and Meyers respond to a debate that is a timely and valuable contribution to egalitarian politics. Janet Gornick is a professor of political science and sociology and director of the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the Graduate Center.

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James Levine

James Levine and David Abbott, Wrong Winner: The Coming Debacle in the Electoral College (New York: Praeger, 1991).

An analysis of the American electoral college with its complicated set of procedures, this book analyzes the significant consequences of the winning of a presidential election by a candidate with fewer votes than his or her opponent. Effective remedies for the modification of the electoral college's deficiencies are presented by Abbott and Levine. They conclude that the only satisfactory solution to the inadequacies of the current electoral system is the complete elimination of the electoral college, and a change to direct popular election of the president.

John Mollenkopf

John Mollenkopf, Peter Dreier and Todd Swanstrom, Place Matters: Metropolitics for the Twenty-First Century (Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas, 2001).

Three distinguished scholars challenge us to put the urban crisis back on the national agenda, both as a moral challenge to our conscience and an economic challenge to America's prosperity and our families' pocketbooks. Focusing on the growing concentration of poverty in our cities and older suburbs and the mounting costs of suburban sprawl, they argue that these problems have political origins and can thus be resolved through political means—but only if we fully understand the power of place.

Despite modern telecommunications—faxes, linked computers, etc.—where we live shapes our lives and fortunes as much as ever. Place affects our access to jobs and public services (especially education), our access to shopping and culture, our level of personal security, the availability of medical services, and even the air we breathe. Economic segregation is increasing in American metropolitan areas—the rich and poor continue to move apart from one another. This has devastating effects on those who are forced to live in areas of concentrated poverty. But it also imposes costs, often unrecognized, on middle class and rich families who in their effort to escape the problems of concentrated poverty, undermine the quality of their own lives by suffering the effects of unrestricted sprawl.

The central thesis of Place Matters is that economic segregation between rich and poor and the growing sprawl of American cities and suburbs are not solely the result of individual choices in free markets. Rather, these problems have been powerfully shaped by short-sighted government policies. The first order of business must be to overhaul those policies. In the process, both urban and suburban citizens will gain a keener awareness that they are all ultimately bound by common interests and share a common fate.

John Mollenkopf, A Phoenix in the Ashes: The Rise and Fall of the Koch Coalition in New York City Politics (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994).

In the years following its near-bankruptcy in 1976 until the end of the 1980s, New York City came to epitomize the debt-driven, deal-oriented, economic boom of the Reagan era. Exploring the interplay between social structural change and political power during this period, John Mollenkopf asks why a city with a large minority population and a long tradition of liberalism elected a conservative mayor who promoted real-estate development and belittled minority activists. Through a careful analysis of voting patterns, political strategies of various interest groups, and policy trends, he explains how Mayor Edward Koch created a powerful political coalition and why it ultimately failed.

John Mollenkopf and Manuel Castells eds., Dual City: Restructuring of New York (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1992).

Explores the complicated new patterns of inequality that emerge when class, race, ethnicity, and gender intersect with the city. York positions an organized core of largely white male professionals and managers against a fragmented and diffuse periphery that ranges from Chinese women garment workers to native-born black male civil service professionals to white women clerical workers.

John Mollenkopf, Contested City (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1990).

Over the last five decades American cities have been transformed as profoundly and tumultuously as they were during the industrial revolution. In contrast to that earlier era, this contemporary transformation has been stimulated and guided by governmental intervention. John H. Mollenkopf analyzes the government programs and the supporting political coalitions that made this intervention possible. His book shows how the success of these programs, developed largely by urban liberal Democrats, led to new conflicts that ultimately undermined urban development policy.

Using Boston and San Francisco as case studies, the author shows how urban development programs influenced and were influenced by big-city politics. He denies that the current impasse in national politics and urban development stems from technical inadequacies in existing policies. Instead, he argues, it results from failure to reconcile the conflicting interests of dominant urban economic institutions and the urban populace -- a failure that led not only to the collapse of the postwar urban development consensus but to the disarray of the Democratic party itself. His suggestions as to how consensus can be restored will fascinate anyone concerned with the future of American politics and the American city.

Gary Gerstle and John Mollenkopf eds., E Pluribus Unum? Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Immigrant Political Incorporation, (New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2001).

The political involvement of earlier waves of immigrants and their children was essential in shaping the American political climate in the first half of the twentieth century. Immigrant votes built industrial trade unions, fought for social protections and religious tolerance, and helped bring the Democratic Party to dominance in large cities throughout the country. In contrast, many scholars find that today's immigrants, whose numbers are fast approaching those of the last great wave, are politically apathetic and unlikely to assume a similar voice in their chosen country. E Pluribus Unum? delves into the wealth of research by historians of the Ellis Island era and by social scientists studying today's immigrants and poses a crucial question: What can the nation's past experience teach us about the political path modern immigrants and their children will take as Americans? E Pluribus Unum? explores key issues about the incorporation of immigrants into American public life, examining the ways that institutional processes, civic ideals, and cultural identities have shaped the political aspirations of immigrants. The volume presents some surprising re-assessments of the past as it assesses what may happen in the near future. An examination of party bosses and the party machine concludes that they were less influential political mobilizers than is commonly believed. Thus their absence from today's political scene may not be decisive. Some contributors argue that the contemporary political system tends to exclude immigrants, while others remind us that past immigrants suffered similar exclusions, achieving political power only after long and difficult struggles. Will the strong home country ties of today's immigrants inhibit their political interest here? Chapters on this topic reveal that transnationalism has always been prominent in the immigrant experience, and that today's immigrants may be even freer to act as dual citizens. E Pluribus Unum? theorizes about the fate of America's civic ethos -- has it devolved from an ideal of liberal individualism to a fractured multiculturalism, or have we always had a culture of racial and ethnic fragmentation? Research in this volume shows that today's immigrant schoolchildren are often less concerned with ideals of civic responsibility than with forging their own identity and finding their own niche within the American system of racial and ethnic distinction.

Incorporating the significant influx immigrants into American society is a central challenge for our civic and political institutions -- one that cuts to the core of who we are as a people and as a nation. E Pluribus Unum? shows that while today's immigrants and their children are in some ways particularly vulnerable to political alienation, the process of assimilation was equally complex for earlier waves of immigrants. This past has much to teach us about the way immigration is again reshaping the nation.

Victor Goldsmith, Philip McGuire, John Mollenkopf and Timothy Ross eds., Analyzing Crime Patterns: Frontiers of Practice, (Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage  Publications, 2000).

Crime control continues to be a growth industry, despite the drop in crime indicators throughout the nation. This volume shows how state-of-the-art geographic information systems (GIS) are revolutionizing urban law enforcement, with an award-winning program in New York City leading the way. Electronic "pin mapping" is used to display the incidence of crime, to stimulate effective strategies and decision making, and to evaluate the impact of recent activity applied to hotspots.

The expert information presented by 12 contributors will guide departments without such tools to understand the latest technologies and successfully employ them. Besides describing and assessing cutting-edge techniques of crime mapping, this book emphasizes:

  • the organizational and intellectual contexts in which spatial analysis of crime takes place,
  • the technical problems of defining, measuring, interpreting, and predicting spatial concentrations of crime,
  • the common use of New York City crime data, and
  • practical applications of what is known (e.g., a review of mapping and analysis software packages using the same data set).

Ken Emerson and John Mollenkopf eds., Rethinking the Urban Agenda: Reinvigorating the Liberal Tradition in New York City and Urban America, (New York: Century Foundation Press, 2001).

The culmination of a year-long lecture series cosponsored by The Century Foundation and the City University of New York Graduate Center's Center for Urban Research, Rethinking the Urban Agenda takes up the challenge provided by a changing of the guard in New York City government-the election of a new mayor and city council-to outline a new conceptual and political road map for New York City's future and, in many important respects, for the future of urban America.

John Mollenkopf (ed.), Contentious City: The Politics of Recovery in New York City (New York : Russell Sage Foundation

Few public projects have ever dealt with economic and emotional issues as large as those surrounding the rebuilding of lower Manhattan following the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Picking up the pieces involved substantial challenges: deciding how to memorialize one of America's greatest tragedies, how to balance the legal claim of landowners against the moral claim of survivors who want a say in the future of Ground Zero, and how to rebuild the Trade Center site while preserving the sacredness and solemnity that Americans now attribute to the area. All the while, the governor, the mayor, the Port Authority, and the leaseholder competed with one another to advance their own interests and visions of the redevelopment, while at least leaving the impression that the decisions were the public's to make. In Contentious City, editor John Mollenkopf and a team of leading scholars analyze the wide-ranging political dimensions of the recovery process.

Contentious City takes an in-depth look at the competing interests and demands of the numerous stakeholders who have sought to influence the direction of the recovery process. Lynne Sagalyn addresses the complicated institutional politics behind the rebuilding, which involve a newly formed development commission seeking legitimacy, a two-state transportation agency whose brief venture into land ownership puts it in control of the world's most famous 16 acres of land, and a private business group whose affiliation with the World Trade Center places it squarely in a fight for billions of dollars in insurance funds. Arielle Goldberg profiles five civic associations that sprouted up to voice public opinion about the redevelopment process. While the groups did not gain much leverage over policy outcomes, Goldberg argues that they were influential in steering the agenda of decision-makers and establishing what values would be prioritized in the development plans. James Young, a member of the jury that selected the design for the World Trade Center site memorial, discusses the challenge of trying to simultaneously memorialize a tragic event, while helping those who suffered find renewal and move on with their lives. Editor John Mollenkopf contributes a chapter on how the September 11 terrorist attacks altered the course of politics in New York, and how politicians at the city and state level adapted to the new political climate after 9/11 to win elected office.

Moving forward after the destruction of the Twin Towers was a daunting task, made more difficult by the numerous competing claims on the site, and the varied opinions on how it should be used in the future. Contentious City brings together the voices surrounding this intense debate, and helps make sense of the rival interests vying for control over one of the most controversial urban development programs in history.

Joe Rollins

Joe Rollins, AIDS and the Sexuality of Law: Ironic Jurisprudence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).

AIDS and the Sexuality of Law investigates the role that HIV/AIDS has played in the legal construction of sexuality. AIDS and its metaphors have been judicially enlisted to patrol the boundaries of heterosexuality, producing flawed understandings of HIV/AIDS and sexuality. The proliferation of this flawed knowledge through judicial discourse has had a profound impact on the way sexuality is understood. Even more fundamentally, closer analysis exposes the ironic processes of the law whereby material reality, ignorance, and belief interact to replace unknowns with 'social facts.' The book concludes optimistically, arguing that there is political value in uncertainty.