Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Professors to receive award for paper on social equity, public administration

A paper by public affairs professors Donald Moynihan and Pamela Herd has won the Wilder School Award for Scholarship in Social Equity and Public Policy Analysis. The article, "Red Tape and Democracy: How Rules Affect Citizenship Rights," was published in the American Review of Public Administration in 2010.

The award, co-sponsored by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government at Virginia Commonwealth University and the National Academy of Public Administration, recognizes exemplary published scholarly articles that will advance the understanding and consequences of social equity. Herd and Moynihan will receive the award and recognition at the academy's annual Social Equity Leadership Conference in June at Binghamton University in New York state.

The article argues that a good deal of public administration research largely overlooks social equity. Moynihan and Herd examine social equity in the context of civil, political and social rights. They demonstrate how in the areas of election administration and social policy, administrative rules have different effects on citizens. Such rules frequently limit access to services by poorer, less-educated and minority groups.

"While policy studies often focus on equity issues in policy studies, researchers do not tend to study equity in relation to administrative rules and red tape, even though all aspects of policy implementation depend upon administrative rules," Moynihan says. "And as we show in our article, these rules have varying effects on different groups."