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Public Service and Good Governance for the Twenty-First Century
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Public Service and Good Governance for the Twenty-First Century

Edited by James L. Perry. Foreword by Paul A. Volcker

312 pages | 6 x 9 | 7 illus.
Cloth 2020 | ISBN 9780812252040 | $69.95s | Outside the Americas £56.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
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[T]his book . . . is a worthy reminder that the parts of government make a whole, progress is uneven, and forward movement happens one step at a time, with backsliding in between. In this edited volume, contributors offer approaches for strengthening government, and in the process, increasing government's capacity to deal with the complexity of interrelated administrative, social, demographic, and economic challenges . . . This volume is an example of keeping at it. It is about the people who lead, manage, and deliver public services and the challenges they face. The goal is to draw attention to the urgency of investing in human capital and in scholarship that advances public service. If the investment is made, then well delivered programs will result. That was Paul Volcker's faith, and it is reflected here."—Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory


"It is useful to find a book where articles connect throughout the text in meaningful ways; authors referencing each other and building upon each other's work on a range of topics including; artificial intelligence, public disinvestment, and creating the next generation of public service leadership. The way in which this book is structured models the very recommendations for an improved public service."—Journal of Public Affairs Education

Expert analysis of American governance challenges and recommendations for reform

Two big ideas serve as the catalyst for the essays collected in this book. The first is the state of governance in the United States, which Americans variously perceive as broken, frustrating, and unresponsive. Editor James Perry observes in his Introduction that this perception is rooted in three simultaneous developments: government's failure to perform basic tasks that once were taken for granted, an accelerating pace of change that quickly makes past standards of performance antiquated, and a dearth of intellectual capital that generate the capacity to bridge the gulf between expectations and performance. The second idea hearkens back to the Progressive era, when Americans revealed themselves to be committed to better administration of their government at all levels—federal, state, and local.

These two ideas—the diminishing capacity for effective governance and Americans' expectations for reform—are veering in opposite directions. Contributors to Public Service and Good Governance for the Twenty-First Century explore these central ideas by addressing such questions as: what is the state of government today? Can future disruptions of governance and public service be anticipated? What forms of government will emerge from the past and what institutions and structures will be needed to meet future challenges? And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, what knowledge, skills, and abilities will need to be fostered for tomorrow's civil servants to lead and execute effectively?

Public Service and Good Governance for the Twenty-First Century offers recommendations for bending the trajectories of governance capacity and reform expectations toward convergence, including reversing the trend of administrative disinvestment, developing talent for public leadership through higher education, creating a federal civil service to meet future needs, and rebuilding bipartisanship so that the sweeping changes needed to restore good government become possible.

Contributors: Sheila Bair, William W. Bradley, John J. DiIulio, Jr., Angela Evans, Francis Fukuyama, Donald F. Kettl, Ramayya Krishnan, Paul C. Light, Shelley Metzenbaum, Norman J. Ornstein, James L. Perry, Norma M. Riccucci, Paul R. Verkuil, Paul A. Volcker.

James L. Perry is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Paul H. O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Paul A. Volcker (1927-2019) was Founder and Chairman of the Volcker Alliance. He was Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan from 1979 to 1987.

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