The Political Economy of Expertise

Information and Efficiency in American National Politics
Kevin M. Esterling
Examines Congressional use of policy research and expertise to solve the nation's problems


The Political Economy of Expertise is a carefully argued examination of how legislatures use expert research and testimony. Kevin Esterling demonstrates that interest groups can actually help the legislative process by encouraging Congress to assess research and implement well-informed policies.

More than mere touts for the interests of Washington insiders, these groups encourage Congress to enact policies that are likely to succeed while avoiding those that have too great of a risk of failure. The surprising result is greater legislative efficiency. The Political Economy of Expertise illustrates that this system actually favors effective and informed decision making, thereby increasing the likelihood that new policies will benefit the American public.

Kevin M. Esterling is Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside.

Praise / Awards

  • "The Political Economy of Expertise is a breakthrough in our understanding of how political systems process information in order to solve problems. In an era of deep cynicism about government, Esterling shows that efficient public problem-solving is normal, and actually happens in many important policy areas."
    —Bryan Jones, University of Washington
  • "Esterling shows that consensus on good public policy can defeat narrow special interests, even in Congress. A major contribution."
    —Frank Baumgartner, Penn State University
  • "While spin and soundbites often dominate political news, Kevin Esterling's masterful work should generate a more hopeful headline: Ideas and Evidence Matter in Policymaking."
    —James T. Hamilton, Duke University
  • "The Political Economy of Expertise represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the role that specialized knowledge plays in legislative policymaking. Kevin Esterling's work helps to explain and at least partially resolve the paradox of Congress's enduring investment in policy knowledge."
    —Stuart Hill, University of California, Davis

Look Inside

Copyright © 2004, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 304pp.
  • 1 drawing, 22 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2004
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11398-9

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  • $94.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2004
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03064-4

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  • $31.95 U.S.

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  • expert research and testimony, legislatures, legislators, interest groups, legislative process, United States, Congress, public policy