American Politics in the Age of Ignorance: Why Lawmakers Choose Belief Over Research

Overview

State and local governments are often trumpeted as laboratories of democracy, capable of significant policy innovation and expertise. Yet the reality is that states more often than not repeatedly reenact failed policies that past research shows do not work. American Politics in the Age of Ignorance contends that policy making is shrouded in many myths and that policy makers often ignore ample research and evidence when it comes to legislating on a range of issues. Examining such hot button issues as restricting ...

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American Politics in the Age of Ignorance: Why Lawmakers Choose Belief Over Research

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Overview

State and local governments are often trumpeted as laboratories of democracy, capable of significant policy innovation and expertise. Yet the reality is that states more often than not repeatedly reenact failed policies that past research shows do not work. American Politics in the Age of Ignorance contends that policy making is shrouded in many myths and that policy makers often ignore ample research and evidence when it comes to legislating on a range of issues. Examining such hot button issues as restricting immigration and welfare migration, seeking to lure businesses with tax breaks, and providing public subsidies for sports stadiums, this book catalogs a list of repeatedly enacted failed policies that public officials advocate, offering a critical and skeptical analysis of the policy process.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"American Politics in the Age of Ignorance is simultaneously depressing, hopeful and engaging. Depressing because of its convincing arguments and examples that government policies are consistently made based on 'political myths' – accepted at face value by officeholders, candidates, jourbanalists, and the public alike – rather than on empirical social science evidence. Hopeful because it makes an equally compelling case that we actually know a good deal about what works and what does not, and in theory at least, have a policymaking process designed to provide the feedback necessary to learn from past successes and failures. And engaging because of the 'take no prisoners' style in which it is written. Finding solutions to the dilemma documented in these pages will not be easy, but I suggest as a first step that policymakers, jourbanalists and citizens who care about the state of our nation read this book." - Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean of The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, USA

"The divide between evidence and ideology in American political debate has never seemed so wide. With this small book, David Schultz applies actual, credible research to highly-charged assertions, separating fact from fiction and defending the propositions that citizenship requires respect for data and information, and that reason should trump uninformed emotion. The book is a plea for Americans to quit "dumbing down" our politics." - Sheila Suess Kennedy, Professor of Law and Public Policy, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, IUPUI

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137308719
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/29/2012
  • Pages: 139
  • Sales rank: 1,429,019
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Schultz is Hamline University Professor in the School of Business where he teaches classes in ethics, public policy, and economics. He also holds an appointment at the University of Minnesota School of Law, USA where he is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Law and Politics. Professor Schultz has a PhD in Political Science and a Law degree and has been a professor for more than 21 years. Previous to teaching he has worked as a housing an economic planner and in local government. Professor Schultz is the author and editor of more than 25 books and 70+ articles on various topics of law, legal theory, and American politics, and he has edited or co-edited several encyclopedias.

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Table of Contents

States as Laboratories of Futility
The Truth about Taxes: They Don't Matter Much
Sportsfare: Welfare for Professional Sports
Welfare Queens, Calculative Criminals, And the Myth of Homo Economicus
Sending Signals: Illegal Immigrants and Teenage Sex
Democracy is the Worst Form of Government
Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

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