Justice Designed: How “Policy Infrastructure” Shapes Civil Rights by David Blanding
Date: 3:30pm - 5:00pm PDT November 12, 2013 PST Location: JRHH 203
How does public opinion affect civil rights policy outcomes over time? What explains differences in policy outcomes across issue domains? This talk explores the recent evolution of policy outcomes in two salient civil rights issue areas: school desegregation and voting rights. Using historical statistical analysis, I show that the relationship between public opinion and policy outcomes depends on “policy infrastructure,” a term I use to encapsulate both the statutory language and institutional support undergirding public policies. The findings not only help to explain the distinct trajectories of policy outcomes in the two issue domains, but also challenge the conventional wisdom on the causal link between public opinion and public policy in democracies.