The National Academy of Public Administration has awarded its 2016 Louis Brownlow Book Award to Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones’ The Politics of Information (The University of Chicago Press). The Brownlow Award is the top book prize in the field of public administration. Brownlow committee Chair, Norman Johnson said, “the committee honored the Baumgartner and Jones book the Politics of Information for deepening our understanding of the dynamics of American policy making and offering keen insights in how organizations operate.”
Frank R. Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bryan D. Jones is the J. J. “Jake” Pickle Regent’s Chair in Congressional Studies in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. They will receive the award at the Academy’s Fall Meeting in Washington, DC on Thursday, November 17, 2016.
With The Politics of Attention, leading policy scholars Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones demonstrated the central role attention plays in how governments prioritize problems. Now, with The Politics of Information, they turn the focus to the problem-detection process itself, showing how the growth or contraction of government is closely related to how it searches for information and how, as an organization, it analyzes its findings. Better search processes that incorporate more diverse viewpoints lead to more intensive policymaking activity. Similarly, limiting search processes leads to declines in policy making. At the same time, the authors find little evidence that the factors usually thought to be responsible for government expansion—partisan control, changes in presidential leadership, and shifts in public opinion—can be systematically related to the patterns they observe.
The 2016 Brownlow Book Award Committee chaired by Academy Fellow Dr. Norman J. Johnson, also included Academy Fellows Joel D. Aberbach, Edward T. Jennings, Jr., James Svara and Katherine G. Willoughby.