Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Friday, November 23, 2018

Political science group honors Yackee with prestigious Simon Award

Political science group honors Yackee with prestigious Simon Award

The Midwest Public Administration Caucus (MPAC) has selected La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee as the 2019 Herbert A. Simon Career Contribution Award recipient. Given on behalf of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), it is the highest award in the field of political science for the study of bureaucracy and public administration.

Yackee will receive the award during the Midwest Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting in April, where she will deliver the Herbert A. Simon lecture. With leaders from across the world, the APSA is a leading professional organization for the study of political science.

“Professor Simon was one of the most influential political scientists of the 20th century, and I am deeply honored to receive this award in his memory,” said Yackee. “His numerous achievements have impacted nearly every field of social science.” 

Past Simon award winners include Barry Weingast of Stanford University, Chuck Shipan of the University of Michigan, and Dan Carpenter of Harvard University.

Considered one of the most influential scholars of rulemaking in the United States, Yackee joined UW–Madison in 2007. Her work focuses on administrative and agency policymaking – a critical but understudied aspect of the U.S. political process. Yackee’s current research focuses on regulatory policymaking in the areas of pharmaceuticals and financial markets.

“Susan Yackee is one of the foremost scholars on regulatory law-making in the United States – an area of critical importance in today’s federal and state governance arenas that are increasingly affected by a growing level of partisan politics and interest group influence,” said Carolyn Heinrich, a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University. “She is applying very rigorous methods to an area of scholarship that traditionally has relied on case-study approaches, and her research is not only bringing renewed attention to the significance of rule-making, but it is shaping how highly respected research is conducted in this field of study.”

Yackee, who received her doctorate in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is an elected member of the National Academy of Public Administration and an elected board member for the Public Management Research Association. Her research about corporate influence on government rule-making, also known as regulatory capture, has been used by federal policymakers in drafting legislation.

In 2017, she received the Beryl Radin Award for her article Clerks or Kings? Partisan Alignment and Delegation to the U.S. Bureaucracy (with Christine Palus). The award recognizes the best article published in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory in the previous year.

The late Herbert Simon was the first political scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in Economics, which recognized his research into the decision-making process within economic organizations. He published 27 books, including Models of Bounded Rationality (1997), Sciences of the Artificial (1996), and Administrative Behavior (1997).