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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Bryan Jones

Professor Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Professor, J. J. "Jake" Pickle Regents Chair in Congressional Studies
Bryan Jones

Contact

Biography

Professor Jones’ research interests center in the study of public policy processes, American governing institutions, and the connection between human decision-making and organizational behavior.

With Frank Baumgartner of the University of North Carolina and John Wilkerson of the University of Washington, Jones directs the Policy Agendas Project, now housed at the University of Texas. The project is the major resource for examining changes in public policy processes in American national institutions. The project is the model for similar projects in Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, and the State of Pennsylvania.

Jones has received National Science Foundation Grants totaling more than $2,650,000, and has published articles in the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Politics, the American Journal of Political Science, Policy Studies Journal, and many other professional journals. He has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Economic Development Quarterly, Governance, Political Psychology, and State and Local Government Review. He has served as President and Vice President of the Midwest Political Science Association, the Executive Council of the American Political Science Association, and President of the APSA’s Organized Section on Urban Politics. In 2003 Jones won the Herbert A. Simon Award for Contributions to the Study of Public Administration.

Before joining the Department of Government in 2008, Professor Jones was the Donald R. Matthews Distinguished Professor of American Politics at the University of Washington. Previously, he was Distinguished Professor and Department Head at Texas A&M University, and also taught at Wayne State University and the University of Houston.

Jones’ books include Politics and the Architecture of Choice (2001) and Reconceiving Decision-Making in Democratic Politics (1994), both winners of the APSA Political Psychology Section Robert Lane Award; The Politics of Attention (co-authored with Frank Baumgartner, 2005); Agendas and Instability in American Politics (co-authored with Frank Baumgartner, 1993), winner of the 2001 Aaron Wildavsky Award for Enduring Contribution to the Study of Public Policy of the American Political Science Association’s Public Policy Section and The Politics of Bad Ideas (co-authored with Walt Williams).

Interests

Policy processes; models of decision-making and choice; agenda-setting; fiscal policy

GOV 358 • Introduction To Public Policy

38025 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm MEZ B0.306
show description

Texts

Carter A. Wilson, Public Policy: Continuity and Change, Second Edition

Timothy Conlan, Paul Posner, and David Beam.  Pathways of Power. 

Elaine C. Kamarck, How Change Happens—Or Doesn’t.

 

Course Overview

 

This course will examine the politics and history of public policymaking in America.  We will examine how policy is made, and whether LBJ’s dicta that “good policy is good politics” holds.  We will study contemporary policy challenges, the problems facing America, and the historical and contemporary development of polcies directed at those problems.  We will focus on such matters as financial and budgetary challenges, health care, income inequality,  education, environment, and justice. 

Since good policies can only come about with good information, properly interpreted, the course will emphasize the roles of ideas and information in the policy process: how elected and appointed political leaders use it to formulate and implement public policies.

 

This Year’s Theme:  Getting Policy Done in a time of Dysfunctional Politics.  Given the bad press the US political system receives these days, this course will explore how policy gets made—or does not get made—in our current political configuration.  Getting things done does NOT mean “productivity” measures like how many statutes are passed.  Good policies DOES mean BOTH addressing important collective problems AND avoiding action when it is neither needed nor desirable. 

 

Since good policies can only come about with good information, properly interpreted, the course will emphasize the roles of ideas and information in the policy process: how elected and appointed political leaders use it to formulate and implement public policies.

Course Objectives

* Survey the approaches used by political scientists to understand the public policymaking process.

    * Integrate current public affairs into our understanding of public policy.

    * Survey the use, history, and success of the major tools used by governments in the US to address policy problems in several major issue areas.

    * Further the development of analytical skills in policy analysis through brief exercises and a major paper employing library and web-based sources. Students will use the Policy Agendas Project's datasets located at the University of Texas to trace public policy activity across time.

 

Grading Policies

 

Course grades will be based on a major exam, a paper in which students study a specific public policy and analyze its historical development, current status, and offer potential recommendations that incorporate both the desirable and the practical; and regular weekly quizzes and exercises.

GOV 384M • Agenda Setting

39073 • Fall 2014
Meets W 330pm-630pm BAT 1.104
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Gov 384M: AGENDA-SETTING

            

The question of how an issue gets on the policymaking agenda—that is, is considered seriously by policymakers—seems simple, but the most obvious explanations are questionable.  It is not easy to explain what, how, and when an issue will come to prominence in a political system. 

 

This seminar will explore the notion that individual choices, choices within political institutions and public policy outputs are interconnected, but that the connections are not simple. We will examine the processes of how people and policy-making institutions process information and make choices, and how those choices lead to change in public policy outputs.  We also study the process historically, to examine whether agenda-setting has changed over the years.

 

GRADING:

 TBD

 

READINGS:

 TBD

GOV 362L • Government Research Internship

39280 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.206
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Course Description

This research course is the second half of a year-long research program under the direction of Professors Theriault (ST) and Jones (BJ).  This term will be devoted to pursuing your individual research projects and continuing with your work as research assistants. 

 

Prerequisites

Successful completion of GOV 370M and the permission of the instructors.

 

Course Format

The class will meet regularly to discuss progress on your projects and research assignments.  We will also cover certain essential elements in design, analysis, and presentation of results.  It is the student’s responsibility to come to class with all of the assigned work – both research and reading – completed.  Rarely will the class stray from a seminar format.    

 

Grades

We will grade using + and -.  Grades will be determined according to the following formula:

10%   Class Participation.  We will take attendance every class meeting.  Because of the nature of the course, unexcused student absences will not be tolerated.

35%   Research Assignments

35%   Research Poster

20%    Research Paper

We frown on issues of academic dishonesty and will severely punish any student caught plagiarizing, cheating, fabricating data, or engaged in unethical classroom practices.  All grade disputes must be type written and turned in within 1 week of receiving the grade.

 

Course Readings

The course books are both available at the UT Co-op:

  • Assigned readings associated with design, analysis, and presentation.
  • Readings associated with your specific project; we will design the reading program for each student.

GOV 362L • Government Research Internship

38931 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.206
show description

See syllabus

GOV 384M • Public Policy Process

39080 • Spring 2013
Meets TH 930am-1230pm BAT 1.104
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Course Description

This course focuses on political science research about policy processes.  It will involve an exploration of the major theories of policy change, and will examine important empirical contributions to the field.  The course will examine the micro-foundations of policy dynamics (models of decision-making), and explore policy agendas, the formation of public policies, and factors influencing agenda and policy change over time.

While the course will focus primarily on the American politics literature, we will also examine policy processes in comparative perspective.  The course will include working with the Policy Agendas datasets, now located at the University of Texas (policyagendas.org), and an introduction to the comparative policy agendas projects, now underway in nine European countries.

 

Grading Policy

(1) proposal for a paper topic (10%); 

(2) take-home examination (30%)

(3) independent research paper due and presentation (40%)

(4) corganization and class participation (20%).

 

Texts

Paul Sabatier, ed. 2007. Theories of the Policy Process.  Boulder, CO:  Westview Press, Second Edition.

Kevin Smith and Christopher Larimer. 2009 The Public Policy Theory Primer.   Westview Press.

And others to be determined later. 

GOV 358 • Introduction To Public Policy

38755 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm MEZ 1.306
show description

Course Description

This course will examine the politics and history of public policymaking in America.  We will examine how policy is made, and study contemporary policy challenges, especially focusing on financial and budgetary challenges, and health care.   We will also examine education, environment, and justice. 

Since good policies can only come about with good information, properly interpreted, the course will emphasize the roles of ideas and information in the policy process: how elected and appointed political leaders use it to formulate and implement public policies.

Objectives:

* Survey the approaches used by political scientists to understand the public policymaking process.

* Integrate current public affairs into our understanding of public policy.

* Survey the use, history, and success of the major tools used by governments in the US to address policy problems in several major issue areas.

* Further the development of analytical skills in policy analysis through brief exercises and a major paper employing library and web-based sources. Students will use the Policy Agendas Project's datasets located at the University of Texas to trace public policy activity across time.

 

Grading Policy

First and foremost, acquire and read the assigned material.  Second, attend class! Attendance will be monitored and will influence grades.

Grades will be based on:

Two Examinations (20% each)- Exams are non-cumulative, and will be objective-style. They will concentrate on your understanding of the course material--readings (including texts, newspapers, and CQ Researcher reports), lecture, and discussions

Two Exercises (10% each)- These will be short papers (2-3 pages), based on the Policy Agendas Datasets. The datasets are located at http://www.policyagendas.org.

Policy Paper (20%)- The paper will ask you to use the analytic skills that you are learning in the course to study the course of policy development in a major policy area. You will develop a policy history (including using the resources of the Policy Agendas Project), analyze the current implementation arrangements (if any), and make policy recommendations (if you wish).  REMEMBER John Adams!

Course attendance and participation (including in-class quizzes)- (20%)

 

Required Texts ( may be modified)

    * Carter A. Wilson, Public Policy: Continuity and Change.

    * Staff of the Washington Post, Landmark

    * David M. Walker, Comeback America

    * Subscription to the New York Times

    * Readings available on Blackboard

    * Readings from CQ Researcher -- on line through UT Libraries:

http://library.cqpress.com.ezproxy.lib.utexas.edu/cqresearcher/

 

 

GOV 370M • Research On The Us Congress

38850 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.120
show description

Course Description

This research course is the first half of a year-long research program under the direction of Professors Bryan Jones and Sean Theriault.  Throughout the year, we have two major goals.  First, and less important, we aim to familiarize the students with our own research agendas (past and present).  Second, and more important, we will introduce the students to the research experience.  In this sense, the class will attempt to replicate the “laboratory” of the hard sciences.  In those laboratories, students are engaged in independent, though related projects.  Their work is coordinated and synthesized by a principal investigator who uses the independent projects to form a greater whole.  This course is a social science laboratory.  To that end, your work is synthesized by two principal investigators engaged in comprehensive research projects on the legislative and policy processes. 

The class will meet regularly to discuss the two major course objectives.  It is the student’s responsibility to come to class with all of the assigned work – both research and reading – completed.  Rarely will the class stray from a seminar format.    

 

Grading Policy

Grades will be determined according to the following formula:

25%   Class Participation.

10%   Homework Assignments

40%   Research Assignments

25%   Research Proposal

 

Texts

The course books are both available at the UT Co-op:

Theriault, Sean M.  2008.  Party Polarization in Congress.  New York: Cambridge University Press.

Baumgartner, Frank R., and Bryan D. Jones.  2009.   Agendas and Instability in American Politics, 2nd Edition.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

GOV 362L • Government Research Internship

38785 • Spring 2012
Meets W 400pm-700pm MEZ B0.302
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Students work on research projects with Professors Jones and Theirault.  This course is a continuation of GOV 370M from the Fall Semester.  

GOV 384M • Policy Agenda Setting

38935 • Spring 2012
Meets T 330pm-630pm BAT 5.108
show description

Agenda-setting in policymaking is the process by which problems come to be addressed by decision-makers.  This seminar will explore this process by examining the following topics: the connections between human decision-making and agenda-setting; models of the agenda-setting process; the role of the mass media; effects of political institutions on the setting of the agenda; and agenda-setting and policy change.

GOV 370M • Research On The Us Congress

38870 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.120
show description

see syllabus

GOV 384M • Policy Process

39160 • Spring 2011
Meets T 330pm-630pm BAT 1.104
show description

see syllabus

GOV 358 • Introduction To Public Policy

38585 • Fall 2010
Meets MW 330pm-500pm MEZ 1.306
show description

Description:
This course will examine the politics and history of public policymaking in America.  We will examine how policy is made, and whether LBJ’s dicta that "good policy is good politics” holds.  We will study contemporary policy challenges, especially focusing on financial and budgetary challenges, health care, environment, and justice.

Grading Policy and Textbooks TBD

 

GOV 370M • Research On The Us Congress

38735 • Fall 2010
Meets MW 530pm-700pm MEZ 1.202
show description

Pre-requisites
Gov 310, Gov 312, and permission of Professors Jones or Theriault

Course Description
This course will introduce the student to social scientific research by incorporating the students into the active research agendas of two professors who study American politics.  The project has three aims.  First, the students will learn the general principles of empirical research.  The second, the student will be active players in on-going research projects.  Third, the students will develop their own research papers in line with the research that they are conducting with the professor
    This course is the first semester of a two-semester research experience offered in conjunction with the Pickle Research Apprenticeship Program, which is under the direction of Professor Sean Theriault and Professor Bryan Jones.  Except in very limited circumstances, students enrolled in the fall semester will also enroll in the spring semester research class taught by Professor Jones.  Professors Jones and Theriault will work hard to make the transition from the fall to the spring as seamless as possible.


Grading Policy:
•    25%    Class Participation
•    75%    Research Project

Textbooks:
•    Sean Theriault’s Party Polarization in Congress
•    Bryan Jones’s Policy Dynamics



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