It is recommended that students buy the Wilson and Lipsky paperbacks from which readings are assigned:

Wilson, James Q. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1989. ISBN: 0465007856.

Lipsky, Michael. Street Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 1980. ISBN: 0871545268.

Along with the calendar of assigned readings is an alphabetical listing of very useful optional readings categorized as: (I) Evaluation and Research Methodology, (II) Interviewing, (III) Bureaucracies and Other Organizations, and (IV) Examples of Theses and Other Papers. (PDF)

1 Introduction, Student Research Interests, and Cross-cutting Methodological Issues

Przeworski, Adam, and Frank Salamon. “On the Art of Writing Proposals, Some Candid Suggestions for Applicants to Science Research Council Competitions.” 1988.

Munck, Gerardo L., and Richard Snyder. “The Human Dimension of Comparative Research.” Chapter 2 in Passion, Craft and Method in Comparative Politics . Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. (Forthcoming.)

2A Turning Assumptions into Research Questions

Hirschman, Albert O. “Underdevelopment, Obstacles to the Perception of Change and Leadership,” Chapter 15 and “The Search for Paradigms as a Hindrance to Understanding.” Chapter 16 in A Bias For Hope: Essays on Development and Latin America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1971, pp. 328-360. ISBN: 0300014562.

Chang, Ha-Joon. “Institutions and Economic Development: ‘Good Governance’ in Historical Perspective.” Chapter 3 in Kicking Away the Ladder? - Policies and Institutions for Development in Historical Perspective. London, UK: Anthem Press, 2002, pp. 61-81, and 99-123. ISBN: 1843310279. (Rest optional.)

McKinley, James. “Where Poverty Drove Zapatistas, The Living Is No Easier.” New York Times, September 11, 2005.

Dao, James. “No Fixed Address.” New York Times, September 11, 2005.


Turning Assumptions into Research Questions: Case Examples


Session with Prof. Merilee Grindle, Professor of International Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Pollitt, Christopher. “Justification by Works or by Faith? Evaluating the New Public Management.” Evaluation 1, no. 2 (1995): 133-154.

Grindle, Merilee. Going Local: Decentralization, Democratization, and the Promise of Good Governance. 2006, chapter 1 and 8 (Book Manuscript). (Forthcoming.)

3 Folding “Politics” and “Clientelism” into Planning Research: Comparative Cases

Piattoni, Simona. “‘Virtuous Clientelism’: The Southern Question Resolved.” Chapter 10 in Italy’s Southern Question: Orientalism in One Country. Edited by Jane Schneider. Oxford, UK: Berg, 1998, pp. 225-245. ISBN: 1859739970.

Bunker, Stephan G. “Collaboration, Competition, and Corruption in Colonization Projects.” In Underdeveloping the Amazon. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1988, pp. 180-198. ISBN: 0226080323.

Teaford, Jon C. “Trumpeted Failures and Unheralded Triumphs,” and “Triumph with the Taste of Defeat.” In The Unheralded Triumph: City Government in America, 1870-1900. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press, 1984, pp. 1-14, and 307-314. ISBN: 0801830621.

Finder, Alan. “As Test Scores Jump, Raleigh Credits Integration by Income.” New York Times, September 25, 2005.

Highly Recommended

Ellwood, John. “In Praise of Pork.” Public Interest no. 110 (1993).

4A Bureaucracies and Other Organizations: Street-level Bureaucrats, Front-line Workers

Lipsky, Michael. Street Level Bureaucracy: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 1980, preface, and chapters 1, 2, and 11-13, pp. 3-25, 159-179, and 181-211. ISBN: 0871545268.

Joshi, Anuradha. “A Third Narrative: Frontline Workers and the WBSFSA.” In Roots of Change: Front Line Workers and Forest Policy Reform in West Bengal. Ph.D. Dissertation. Cambridge, MA: Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2000, pp. 1-2, and 177-242.


Bureaucracies and Other Organizations: Mixing the Politics and the Management of Cities


Session with Prof. J. Phillip Thompson, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

Thompson, J. Phillip. Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Call for a Deep Democracy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006. (Forthcoming.)

Wilson, James Q. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York, NY: Basic Books, 1989, preface, and chapters 1-2, 17, and 20, pp. 3-28, 315-332, and 365-378. ISBN: 0465007856. (Rest optional.)


Bureaucracies and Other Organizations: Variables Driving Organizational Behavior - From Within and Without


Session with Prof. Michael Piore, Economics / Political Science, MIT

Piore, Michael. “Qualitative Research: Does It Fit In Economics?” In Social Science Field Work. Edited by Sara Curren and Ellen Perecman. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. (Forthcoming.)

Pfeffer, Jeffrey, and Gerald R. Salancik. The External Control of Organizations. New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1978, chapters 1, 4, and 10. ISBN: 080474789X.


Piore, Michael. “Qualitative Research Techniques in Economics.” Administrative Science Quarterly 24 (December 1979): 560-569.

Lawrence, Paul R., and Jay W. Lorsch. Organization and Environment: Managing Differentiation and Integration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1969, chapters 1 and 8, pp. 1-22, and 185-203. ISBN: 0875841295.

DiMaggio, Paul J., and Walter W. Powell, ed. “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organization Fields.” Chapter 3 in The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991, pp. 63-82. ISBN: 0226677095.

Meyer, John W., and Brian Rowan. “Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony.” Chapter 2 in The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Edited by Walter W. Powell and Paul J. DiMaggio. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1991, pp. 41-62. ISBN: 0226677095. (See especially pp. 54-62.)

5 Past First-year-paper Examples: Sessions with Authors

Goelman, Ari. “Technology in Context: Mediating Factors in the Utilization of Planning Technologies.” Environment and Planning Association 37, no. 5 (2005): 895-907.

Coslovsky, Salo. “How Bolivia’s Brazil-nut Industry Became Competitive in World Markets while Brazil’s Fell Behind: Lessons from a Matched Comparison.” First Year Paper, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT. 2005.

Fisman, Lianne. “The Effects of Local Learning on Environmental Awareness in Children: An Empirical Investigation.” The Journal of Environmental Education 36, no. 3 (2005): 39-50.

Allen, Ryan. “Sometimes a ‘Broken Window’ Is Just a Broken Window.” First Year Paper, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT. 2004. (See also the reviews written by three anonymous referees for Social Problems.)


Country and Subnational Comparisons: Lessons for Research


Sessions with Prof. Richard Locke, Political Science, MIT, and Professor Richard Snyder, Political Science, Brown University

Locke, Richard, and Thelen Kathleen. “Apples and Oranges Revisited: Contextualized Comparisons and The Study of Comparative Labor Politics.” Politics & Society 23, no. 3 (1995): 337-367.

Snyder, Richard. “Scaling Down: The Subnational Comparative Method.” Studies in Comparative International Development 36, no. 1 (2001): 93-110.


Uncertainty, Bounded Rationality, and “Satisficing”

Session on MIT authorization for research involving interviewing, with the Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects.

March, James. A Primer on Decisionmaking: How Decisions Happen. New York, NY: Free Press, 1994, preface, and chapter 1, pp. 1-35. ISBN: 0029200350.

Evans, Peter. Dependent Development. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1979, chapters 1, 3, and 4, pp. 34-38, 101-113, and 163-212. ISBN: 0691021856.

8 Interpreting Duplication, Overlap, and Lack of Inter-agency Coordination

Broder, John M. “Plan Seeks a Sweeping Overhaul of California’s Agencies.” New York Times , August 3, 2004.

Landau, Martin. “Redundancy, Rationality, and the Problem of Duplication and Overlap.” Public Administration Review 29 (1969): 346-358.

Weiss, Janet A. “Pathways to Cooperation Among Public Agencies.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 7 (1987): 94-117.

Lipton, Eric. “Breakdowns Marked Path From Hurricane To Anarchy.” New York Times, September 11, 2005.

Tendler, Judith. “Reinventing the Projects.” In New Lessons From Old Projects: The Workings of Rural Development in Northeast Brazil. A World Bank Operations Evaluation Study. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications, 1993, executive summary and chapter 2, pp. xix-xxvi, and 14-33. ISBN: 0821325124.

9 Interviewing: First and Follow-up Questions, etc.  
10 Discussions of Draft First-year Paper Proposals  
11 Last Class  

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2005