Cover: The Policy State: An American Predicament, from Harvard University PressCover: The Policy State in PAPERBACK

The Policy State

An American Predicament

  • Part I: Introduction
    • 1. Public Policy and State Formation
      • An American Predicament
      • Blind Spots
      • Past and Present
      • No Bigger Than a Man’s Hand
    • 2. The Policy Motive
      • Everything in Its Place
      • “Conjuring Tricks”
      • What Is Policy and What Is It Not?
      • Structure and Opportunity
      • Tracking Development
  • Part II: The Policy State
    • 3. Rights in the Policy State
      • Dependence on Policy
      • The Unbearable Lightness of Standards
      • Labor Policy, Pure and Simple
      • Policy Auras
      • “Neighborhood of Principles”
    • 4. Structure in the Policy State
      • Free-Form Federalism
      • The Place of Administration
      • Makeshift Presidentialism
      • Blockages, Outlets, and Institutional Identities
    • 5. Politics in the Policy State
      • Policy Science
      • The Direct Approach
      • Ganging Up
      • Get with the Program
      • Game Change?
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index

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Books influence us in untold ways, and the ones that influence us the most are often read in childhood. Harvard University Press Senior Editor Julia Kirby is reminded of this on the anniversary of the birth of one of this country’s most celebrated economists. This month would have brought Thomas Schelling’s one-hundredth birthday—and he got closer to seeing it than many mortals. The Nobel laureate economist died just five years ago, after a brilliant career as both a scholar and an advisor to US foreign policy strategists. What better day to dip into his classic work