Fiscal Policy
Graduate Program in Public Administration

The Evergreen State College
Fall, 1999

[LAST UPDATED October 16, 1999]

I. Faculty

Ruta Fanning (Program Advisor), Lib 3127, ext. 6504. Office hours: by appointment

Chris Haugen, Lab I, Room 2115, ext. 6027. Office hours: Tuesday, 1-2 p.m. and 5-6 p.m, Thursday, 5-6 p.m.

Zahid Shariff (Coordinator), Lab I, Room 3017, ext. 6389. Office hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 5-6 p.m.

II. Program Description

Our purpose is to explore fiscal issues in the broader frameworks provided by gender, race, and class. To these have been added some topical issues: globalization and corporate welfare. Among the prominent areas we expect to focus on are budgetary processes, fiscal outcomes, and trends at the federal and state levels, and the interplay of politics and economics in the budgetary arena.

III. Requirements and Assignments

As members of a learning community, we are expected to be engaged in the program activities. Students are required to attend class sessions regularly, prepare fully for discussion of the readings, and complete the assignments in a timely manner. If you must miss a class, please telephone your seminar leader in advance; more than one absence will require submission of additional work. Late written work will be read only under extraordinary circumstances, such as illness or emergency.

A. Conclusions and response papers.

    An important part of our learning in Fiscal Policy will consist of understanding of, and engagement with, the assigned readings. We hope that will be facilitated by

    1. Writing six short (3-4 page, single-spaced) conclusion and response (C&R) papers. Each of them is expected to be evenly divided between (a) a summary of the major conclusions, arguments, and strengths of the author(s), and (b) your own considered and active response to them -- i.e., evaluative statements, connections with other readings, agreements or disagreements with your views, relevance to your personal and/or professional experiences.

    2. Exchanging each C&R paper with one other student (and providing a copy of it to the appropriate faculty member) on Tuesday of the week for which the readings are assigned. Students are hence also responsible for providing feedback on each other's C&R papers.

    Note: We are convinced that skimming many readings does not facilitate learning as much as thorough understanding of some of them. It is for that reason that there are both fewer readings and only one other assignment (see below) in addition to these C&R papers. Additional help in writing the C&R papers will be provided in separate handouts.

    A sample conclusion and response paper is available.

B. Budget cutting project

Working in teams of two or three, students will prepare a 10-page report, including a three-page literature review, on how a budget cut of 10 percent should be absorbed by a political jurisdiction. After selecting a state agency, a major division in a large department, or a county/local government, the team will be expected to collect the budget documents and interview appropriate public officials, before preparing the project report. The report will provide, in addition to the literature review, relevant background information, a review of the agency’s mission and goals, past budget priorities and how they might change in view of the agency’s budget reductions, and the gender, race, and class implications of the proposed cuts.

The written reports are due on December 9th. Arrangements are being made for oral presentations to be videotaped in our television studio on December 7th and 9th. When making these presentations, assume that they are being made before a legislative body or a central budget office.

IV. Required readings list

Some changes may be made during the course. Please check the web site each week for updated information.

A. Books

Bowen, W.G. and Bok, D. (1998) The shape of the river. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Bourdieu, P. (1998) Acts of resistance. New York: New Press.

Folbre, N. (1994) Who pays for the kids? New York: Routledge

Gosling, J.J. (1997) Budgetary politics in american states. 2nd. ed. New York: Garland Publishing.

Krugman, P. (1995) Peddling prosperity. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

United States. Office of Management and the Budget. (1999) A citizen’s guide to the United States budget. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

B. Articles, reports, and excerpts
  1. Alterman, E. (1998, May 25) Making one and one equal two. The Nation, 10.

  2. Broom, C. (1995) Performance based government models: building a track record. Public Budgeting and Finance, 15 (4), 3-17.

  3. Fukuyama, F. (1999, May) The great disruption. The Atlantic Monthly, 55-80.

  4. Fishman, T.C., Garten, J.E., and Greider, W. (1999, June) Global roulette. Harper’s Magazine, 39-50.

  5. Haugen, J., and McIntire, J. (1998, October) Assessing the impact of the 1998 congressional budget resolution. Seattle: University of Washington Fiscal Policy Center. Statewide summary paper -- 11 county papers wIll be distributed in class / students need to read one.

  6. Haugen, J. (1999, November) Review of 1999 budget actions. Seattle: University of Washington Fiscal Policy Center. WIll be distributed in class.

  7. Lefberg, I. (1999, October) Joint Office of Financial Management / Fiscal Policy Center study of Washington state fiscal trends. Seattle: University of Washington Fiscal Policy Center. WIll be distributed in class.

  8. Krugman, P. (1994) Preface and Chapter 2, "Income distribution." In Krugman, P. The age of diminished expectations. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

  9. McIntire, J. (1997, July) Living within the limits. Seattle: University of Washington Fiscal Policy Center.

  10. Poyster, T. and Streib, G. (1999) Performance measurement in municipal government: assessing the state of the practice. Public Administration Review, 59 (4), 325-335.

  11. Reich, R.B. (1999, March/April). We are all third wayers now. The American Prospect, 46-51.

  12. Stein, H. (1996, May 1) The income inequality debate. The Wall Street Journal, A14.

  13. Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP): TBA.

  14. Rieff, D. (1999, February 22) The false dawn of civil society. The Nation, 11-16.

  15. Clough, M. (1999, February 22) Reflections on civil society. The Nation, 16-18.


V. Evaluation and Credit

A. Credit

Students will receive graduate credit based on satisfactory and on-time completion of all program requirements and assignments. Credit denial decisions will be made by the faculty team. Plagiarism, failing to complete one or more assignments, completing one or more assignments late (i.e., without having made special arrangements before the due date), or more than two unexcused absences may constitute automatic denial of credit for the program.

B. Evaluations

All students will receive a written evaluation of their academic performance by one of the members of the faculty team. Student evaluations will be based on class attendance, seminar contributions, C&R papers (and the feedback provided to other students), and the budget cutting project (both the written report and oral presentation).

Each student is expected to participate in an evaluation conference and prepare, and bring to the evaluation conference, a written self-evaluation and an evaluation of the faculty member. If the student feels uncomfortable about bringing the faculty evaluation to that conference, s/he may leave it with the program secretary (Pam Udovich, Lab I, Room 1020, ext. 6600).

VI. Additional Covenants

In furtherance of the objectives of our learning community, we expect students and faculty to (a) act in accordance with the Evergreen Social Contract and the Student Conduct Code; (b) promote a cooperative and supportive atmosphere which gives every one the opportunity for self-reflection and expression; and (c) use high standards in reading the texts and preparing C&R papers, lectures, and comments in seminar.

Faculty agree to (a) provide timely feedback; (b) handle all dispute in a spirit of goodwill; and (c) make time available for individual conferences with students, and (d) arrive on time prepared for lectures, seminars, and other program activities.

VII. Weekly Schedule

Note: Except when it is clearly specified, there will be a seminar session during each class meeting.

Week 1

Tuesday, September 28th:

Introductions, overview, and expectations.

Seminar: agreement about process.

Thursday, September 30th:

A. Sharing Information about the application project.

B. Ruta, Chris, and Zahid: "Perspectives on fiscal policy."

Readings: (1) Alterman; (2) Fukuyama; and (3) Krugman, The age of diminished expectations, Preface.

Week 2

Tuesday, October 5th:

Lecture: Zahid, "Explaining the role of government — I."

Readings: Gosling, chapters 1 through 4.

Assignment due: 1st C&R paper

Thursday, October 7th:

Lecture: Zahid, "Explaining the role of government — II."

Readings: Gosling, chapters 5 through 8.

Week 3

Tuesday, October 12th:

Lecture: Chris, "Budgetary Processes and Income Inequality."

Readings: (1) Krugman, Peddling prosperity, chapters 1-6; (2) Krugman, The age of diminished expectations, chapter 2; and (3) Stein.

Assignment due: 2nd C&R paper

Thursday, October 14th:

Lecture: Chris, "Federal Budget Politics Since 1994."

Readings: (1) Haugen and McIntire; (2) CBPP; (3) Reich.

Week 4

Tuesday, October 19th:

Brief lecture: Chris, "Comparative Advantage; GATT Framework."

Film in Lib 1308.

Readings: (1) Bourdieu.

Assignment due: 3rd C&R paper

Thursday, October 21st:

Seminar: 6-7 PM

Guest lecture by Robert Strumberg in Lecture Hall # 1, "Trade, Labor, and the Environment: Analyzing the World Trade Organization."

Readings: (1) Grunberg; (2) Fishman, Garten, and Greider; (3) Rieff; and (4) Clough.

Week 5

Tuesday, October 26th:

Panel discussion: Initiative 695. No Seminar

Thursday, October 28th:

Mid-Quarter Feedback. No Seminar.

Week 6

Tuesday, November 2nd:

Lecture: Ruta, "Budgeting in Washington state."

Readings: (1) Lefberg.


Thursday, November 4th:

Lecture: Ruta and Chris, "State Fiscal History and Initiative 601."

Readings: (1) Haugen; and (2) McIntire.

Week 7

Tuesday, November 9th:

Guest lecture. Readings: (1) Folbre, pp. 1-128.

Assignment due: 4th C&R paper

Thursday, November 11th:

Lecture: Chris, "Child Care as a Public Good." Readings: (1) Folbre, pp. 129-end.

Week 8 Tuesday, November 16th:

Film in Lib 1308.

Readings: (1) Bowen and Bok, chapters 1-5.

Assignment due: 6th C&R paper

Thursday, November 18th:

Workshop on Race: Zahid.

Readings: (1) Bowen and Bok, chapters 6-10.

Assignment due: Budget cutting project written report.


No class November 23rd and 25th.


Week 9

Tuesday, November 30th:

Guest lecture by Governor Mike Lowry, "State Business Tax Exemptions and Corporate Welfare." (Tentative)

Readings: House Budget Committee, Corporate Welfare Hearings.

Assignment due: 5th C&R paper

Thursday, December 2nd:

Guest lecture: TBA.

Readings: (1) Broom; and (2) Poyster and Sttreib.

Week 10

Tuesday, December 7:

Student Presentations, TV Studio, Lib

Thursday, December 9th

Student Presentations, TV Studio, Lib

Assignment due: Budget cutting project written report.

Week 11 Evaluations