Bridging the gap between textbook models of how public policy should work, and how the process actually works in contemporary Washington, Pathways of Power provides a framework that integrates the roles of political interests and policy ideals in the contemporary policy process. This book argues that the policy process can be understood as a set of four distinctive pathways of policymaking—pluralist, partisan, expert, and symbolic—that draw upon different political resources, appeal to different political actors, and elicit unique strategies and styles of coalition building.
Revealing the strategic behavior of policy actors who compete to shift policies onto pathways that maximize their resources and influence, the book provides a fresh approach to understanding the seeming chaos and volatility of the policy process today. The book’s use of a wide universe of major policy decisions and case studies, focused on such key areas as health care, federal budgeting, and tax policy, provides a useful foundation for students of the policy process as well as for policy practitioners eager to learn more about their craft.
Over the last twenty-five years, during both liberal and conservative eras, federal mandates have emerged as a resilient tool for advancing the interests of both political parties. Revealing the politics that led to the policies, Paul L. Posner explores the origins of these congressional mandates, what interests and needs they satisfy, whether mandate reform initiatives can be expected to alter their use, and their implications for federalism.
This book reveals how mandates have changed the way policy is formed in the United States and the fundamental relationship between the federal government and the state and local governments.