Rigorous, relevant research is a hallmark of the Sanford School of Public Policy and its faculty. With expertise in a wide variety of fields, the public policy faculty is recognized for research in health policy, media and democracy, education finance and achievement, and many other areas. Recent publications are highlighted here; for additional publications information, you may visit individual faculty web pages or use the links at the top of this page. To find faculty with a particular area of expertise, browse this list of topic areas or search within our faculty directory.

Recent Publications


The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know

Philip J. Cook and Kristin A. Goss

Oxford University Press, April 2014


Guns and gun control have been a hot-button issue for Americans for decades. In a question-and-answer format, Cook and Goss provide an essential resource on the topic, covering both the latest research on gun violence, regulations and ownership, and the context, history and culture of the debate.

They also address issues such as the connection between mental illness and violent crime, whether guns make us safer, and the effectiveness of gun control. They explore the origins of American gun culture and both the gun rights and the gun control movements.




What Good Is Grand Strategy?
Power and Purpose in American Statecraft from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush

Hal Brands
Cornell University Press, January 2014

With the end of the Cold War, is there a place for grand strategy in American foreign policy? Brands examines four presidents—Truman, Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush— and the grand strategies their administrations crafted to deal with changes in the international environment.

Grand strategy is a complex process that must adapt in changing circumstances, yet is the type of planning essential to the successful exercise of state power. Brands draws examples from the early Cold War to the War on Terror to show how grand strategy is essential, yet hard to get right amid the turbulence of global and domestic politics.



Globalization and Development:
Why East Asia Surged Ahead and Latin America Fell Behind

Anthony Elson

Palgrave MacMillan, December 2013

By comparing the experience of East Asia and Latin America since the mid-1970s, Elson identifies the key factors that have allowed East Asia to take advantage of a more globalized economy, while Latin America has not.

“East Asia, unlike Latin America, early on realized that development could only take place if a country became skilled and open to developing export potential,” he said. “By contrast, Latin America has always been heavily protectionistic. It’s only more recently that Latin America has been able to take advantage of the tremendous growth in international trade.” 

History and political systems, as well as economic policy, play a major role in explaining the different experiences of the two regions.


Transparency in Politics and the Media:
Accountability and Open Government

Edited by Nigel Bowles, James T. Hamilton and David A. L. Levy

I.B. Taurus

November 2013


These essays emerged from a conference held at Oxford University in October 2012, co-sponsored by Sanford’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, then directed by Professor James T. Hamilton.

Philip Bennett, current director of the center, contributed “Truth Vigilantes: On Journalism and Transparency” which discusses the issues of fact-checking and journalistic transparency on the part of media organizations, and the difficult trade-offs posed by the digital age.  

Sarah Cohen, former Knight Professor at Sanford, contributed “Transparency and Public Policy: Where Open Government Fails Accountability,” which examines the tension between the ownership of public records in America and the impulse for control and secrecy on the part of government agencies.  


White-Collar Government:
The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making

Nicholas Carnes
University of Chicago Press, Nov. 2013

Research on social class gaps in political participation tends to focus on voting, campaign finance and lobbying. However, little work has been done to examine the policy implications of having political institutions populated almost exclusively by the wealthy. In White-Collar Government Nick Carnes, assistant professor of public policy, drew on his award-winning PhD dissertation to show that the dearth of working-class people in office--at all levels of government from the Supreme Court to the town council--results in economic policies favoring the wealthy. Business regulations are flimsier, social safety net programs are stingier and tax laws favor businesses and the well-off.

Carnes is now researching why qualified working-class people don’t run for office, and what can be done about it. Although there’s lots of conjecture, there’s not much research on the topic, he said. He surveyed all 10,000 of the people who ran for state legislatures nationwide in 2012, and in early 2014 he will survey all 6,000 leaders of state and county-level party chapters, both Republican and Democratic.

Carnes is also examining existing data on the social class makeup of state legislatures to see if there are instances when working-class people have had a significant voice in politics. A few programs already exist to identify, recruit, train, and support working-class candidates,Carnes said. They include union-run "candidate schools" in New Jersey and Oregon.


The Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa

Edited by William Ascher and Natalia Mirovitskaya

Palgrave McMillan,  November 2013

Natalia Mirovitskaya, senior research scholar at DCID, and William Ascher,  Claremount McKenna College professor of government, have released the third book in their series exploring the connection between economic development and conflict, examining cases of regime change, post-independence economic development, and intergroup violence in 11 countries.

“The causal relationship between violence and development progress is remarkably complex,” Mirovitskaya and Ascher write. “In this volume, we attempt to disentangle at least some threads of this connection in African countries, focusing on the many links between the choices that governments make – broad development strategies, policies to pursue these strategies, and institutional changes to promote and implement them – and the likelihood of violence or nonviolent interactions.”


Strategic Narratives,
Communication Power and the New World Order

Alister Miskimmon, Ben O’Loughlin, and Laura Roselle
Routledge, November 2013

This book explores the advent, use and transformation of the strategic narrative within the global political arena. From the "war on terror" after the 9/11 attacks to the recent use of "Obamacare," politicians have realized the potential of narratives to sway beliefs.

Co-author Laura Roselle is a visiting professor with the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy and a professor of political science at Elon University. She and her co-authors from the University of London structure their exploration around four themes: order, actors, uncertainty, and contestation. They also explore public diplomacy in terms of social media and the burgeoning power of individual citizens to influence how stakeholders frame policies and actions.


Lessons from the Economics of Crime:
What Reduces Offending

Edited by Philip J. Cook, Stephen Machin,
Olivier Marie, and Giovanni Mastrobuoni
MIT Press, October 2013


For the past 50 years, economists have been studying criminal behavior and crime control. In this book, ITT/ Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy Philip Cook and his co-editors have focused on three areas of research: a normative framework and increasingly sophisticated quantitative methods for analyzing causes of crime and policy responses; criminal behavior as an "individual and even rational choice;" and the feedback and interaction of crime-related choices and outcomes. The chapters discuss topics such as applying cost-benefit analysis to the COPS program, which provided federal funds to hire additional police officers in some areas, the best police methods to reduce sports fan violence and alternate approaches to drug policy.

"The economists are here to stay in the study of crime, the criminal justice system and crime prevention," say the co-editors.


The International Handbook of Public Financial Management

Richard Allen, Richard Hemming, Barry Potter, eds.
Palgrave Macmillan, August 2013

The first comprehensive publication on public financial management in more than a decade, this book is co-edited by Richard Hemming, visiting professor of the practice at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID). It covers issues such as the importance of political economy factors in budgeting and system design, fiscal transparency and accountability, and overseas development assistance.

The 38 chapters are written by leading academics and practitioners in the field, many of whom have worked with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The chapters include case studies of best practices in the field and examples from both advanced and developing countries. Hemming wrote or co-authored four chapters, covering frameworks for managing public finances, tax design and the role of independent fiscal agencies. DCID faculty members Graham Glenday and Roy Kelly, both professors of the practice, have contributed chapters on tax design, intergovernmental financial relations, revenue forecasting and fiscal federalism.


American Foreign Policy

Bruce W. Jentleson
W.W. Norton & Co., July 2013

The heavily revised fifth edition of Bruce W. Jentleson’s text offers greater emphasis on the role domestic politics and institutions, both formal and informal, play in shaping American foreign policy. The book focuses on foreign policy strategy as well as foreign policy politics. Through analysis of the three branches of the U.S. government, various interest groups, the great debates in American foreign policy from 1789-1945, and, finally the Cold War, Jentleson, a professor of public policy and political science, provides the history and context of U.S. foreign policy. He then explores the choices and challenges of American foreign policy in the 21st century.

This fifth edition includes analysis of the rise of China, the renewed focus on Mexican and Latin American immigration, America’s role in a changing Middle East, the end of the Iraq War and the nation’s new approach in Afghanistan, the beginning of Barack Obama’s second term and the evolution of
his foreign policy.


Development Strategies, Identities, and Conflict in Asia

William Ascher and Natalia Mirovitskaya
Palgrave Macmillan, June 2013

The second book in a series exploring economic development and conflict provides an overview of the evolution of development doctrines, patterns of socio-economic development and levels of violence in all Asian sub-regions. Through carefully selected case studies, the book explores the often surprising impacts of development initiatives on intergroup conflict. Natalia Mirovitskaya is a senior research scholar at the Duke Center for International Development (DCID), while William Ascher, founder of DCID, is a professor at Claremont McKenna College. The third book in the series, The Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa, is due out later this year.

"The most explosive current conflicts in East and South Asia do not reflect the resentment against governments for neglecting the least developed areas, but rather the clashes that emerge from efforts to develop those areas," Mirovitskaya said.

Sanford Building
Sanford Building