Public Entrepreneurs: Agents for Change in American Government

Princeton University Press
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Seizing opportunities, inventing new products, transforming markets--entrepreneurs are an important and well-documented part of the private sector landscape. Do they have counterparts in the public sphere? The authors argue that they do, and test their argument by focusing on agents of dynamic political change in suburbs across the United States, where much of the entrepreneurial activity in American politics occurs. The public entrepreneurs they identify are most often mayors, city managers, or individual citizens. These entrepreneurs develop innovative ideas and implement new service and tax arrangements where existing administrative practices and budgetary allocations prove inadequate to meet a range of problems, from economic development to the racial transition of neighborhoods. How do public entrepreneurs emerge? How much does the future of urban development depend on them? This book answers these questions, using data from over 1,000 local governments.

The emergence of public entrepreneurs depends on a set of familiar cost-benefit calculations. Like private sector risk-takers, public entrepreneurs exploit opportunities emerging from imperfect markets for public goods, from collective-action problems that impede private solutions, and from situations where information is costly and the supply of services is uneven. The authors augment their quantitative analysis with ten case studies and show that bottom-up change driven by politicians, public managers, and other local agents obeys regular and predictable rules.

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About the author

Mark Schneider is Professor of Political Science, and Paul Teske is Assistant Professor of Political Science, both at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Michael Mintrom is an Assistant Professor of Political Science, with a joint appointment in the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research, at Michigan State University.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jul 1, 2011
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Pages
264
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ISBN
9781400821570
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Daron Acemoglu
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Simply, no. None of these factors is either definitive or destiny. Otherwise, how to explain why Botswana has become one of the fastest growing countries in the world, while other African nations, such as Zimbabwe, the Congo, and Sierra Leone, are mired in poverty and violence?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson conclusively show that it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success (or lack of it). Korea, to take just one of their fascinating examples, is a remarkably homogeneous nation, yet the people of North Korea are among the poorest on earth while their brothers and sisters in South Korea are among the richest. The south forged a society that created incentives, rewarded innovation, and allowed everyone to participate in economic opportunities.

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Why Nations Fail will change the way you look at—and understand—the world. 
Richard H. Thaler
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Shortlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

Jack Buckley
Over the past several years, privately run, publicly funded charter schools have been sold to the American public as an education alternative promising better student achievement, greater parent satisfaction, and more vibrant school communities. But are charter schools delivering on their promise? Or are they just hype as critics contend, a costly experiment that is bleeding tax dollars from public schools? In this book, Jack Buckley and Mark Schneider tackle these questions about one of the thorniest policy reforms in the nation today.

Using an exceptionally rigorous research approach, the authors investigate charter schools in Washington, D.C., carefully examining school data going back more than a decade, interpreting scores of interviews with parents, students, and teachers, and meticulously measuring how charter schools perform compared to traditional public schools. Their conclusions are sobering.

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With the future of charter schools--and perhaps public education as a whole--hanging in the balance, this book supports the case for holding charter schools more accountable and brings us considerably nearer to resolving this contentious debate.

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