Political Science | American Politics: Federalism & State Policy Making
Y661 | 20460 | Wright

This section meets with Y665
With the attention of the national government firmly focused on Iraq
and any ideas about domestic policy initiatives at the national
level circumscribed by a mounting national deficit, this turns out
to be is a particularly opportune time to study the states and state
policy making within the federal system.  There is more political
action, policy innovation, and responsibility at the state level
than perhaps ever before and new data sets are emerging that permit
scholars to investigate new and fundamental questions.

The course provides an overview of the major lines of research into
interactions of the national and state governments and into the
political and economic constraints of state policy making in a
federal system.  We will also focus on the states as political
entities with their varying political settings and policy challenges
to understand the variety policy processes across the states in
selected policy areas.

Seminar members who are interested will have the opportunity to work
with new data sets on state legislators and legislatures which I
have been constructing as part of my “Representation in the American
Legislatures” project.  This includes an array of data gathered by
Project Vote-Smart (including surveys of issues position of
candidates from 1996-2004) and the first comprehensive set state
legislative roll call data.  These data can be employed to explore a
wide variety of questions about the policy making processes in the

Students who wish can also focus more specifically on questions of
policy outcomes, implementation, or comparative analyses of state
policy effectiveness.