Berkman, Michael B. 1960-
Berkman, Michael B. 1960-
Born February 24, 1960, in New York, NY; son of Seymour and Annette Berkman; married Willa Z. Silverman (an academician), August 19, 1973; children: Benjamin. Education: State University of New York at Binghamton, B.A., 1982; Indiana University at Bloomington, Ph.D., 1989.
Academician. Pennsylvania State University, Department of Political Science, University Park, assistant professor, 1989-94, associate professor, 1995-2006, professor of political science, 2006—, director of undergraduate studies, 2000—.
American Political Science Association.
William Anderson Award, American Political Science Association, 1991, for best doctoral dissertation in state and local politics, federal- ism, or intergovernmental relations; National Science Foundation grant, 2005; recipient of numerous academic grants.
(With Eric Plutzer) Ten Thousand Democracies: Politics and Public Opinion in America's School Districts, Georgetown University Press (Washington, DC), 2005.
Contributor to periodicals and academic journals, including Public Opinion Quarterly, American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, American Political Science Review, Political Behavior, Economic Development Quarterly, Political Science Teacher, Newsday, and Social Science Quarterly. Contributing editor to American Journal of Education, 2004—. Member of editorial board of Legislative Studies Quarterly, 2002-05, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 2000-03.
Michael B. Berkman is an American academician. Born in the Bronx, Berkman earned his first degree at the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1982. He later earned a Ph.D. at Indiana University at Bloomington, his dissertation winning the William Anderson Award from the American Political Science Association in 1991. He began working as an assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University in the department of political science in 1989. He was promoted to associate professor in 1995 and named director of undergraduate studies in 2000. By 2006 Berkman was made a full professor.
In 1993 Berkman published his first book, The State Roots of National Politics: Congress and the Tax Agenda, 1978-1986. The book outlines the shift in tax policy in the United States, pointing primarily towards the large number of state representatives moving up into Congress in the 1970s and the shift of the Republican Party to the western states. Paul Brace, writing in the American Political Science Review, commented that "this is an important, well-written, and carefully reasoned study that takes us beyond the normal compartmentalization so characteristic of the vast majority of American politics studies." Brace added that Berkman "skillfully leads the reader through a host of topics, including economic development, federalism, tax policy, agenda setting, party change, generational replacement, political socialization, and political recruitment, among others."
In 2005 Berkman published his second book, Ten Thousand Democracies: Politics and Public Opinion in America's School Districts, with Eric Plutzer. The book examines special-interest groups and the influence they have on local school boards. Berkman and Plutzer also look at how age, race, and homeowner status affect local school politics. A contributor to the Midwest Book Review wrote that Ten Thousand Democracies is well-suited "as an excellent reference for research and information for students of contemporary American political science and public education." Noting the book's "timely contribution" in a Political Science Quarterly review, Kenneth K. Wong noted that "this book provides an excellent empirical foundation for further inquiry on democratic politics and educational policy." Wong did note, however, that "while the book offers cogent findings on public opinion and school spending, it does not provide much substantive detail on how citizens form their views on public schools and district spending in the context of heightened accountability." A contributor to Reference & Research Book News noted that Berkman and Plutzer "find surprising data" in the book and document it in tables. Gerald C. Wright, reviewing the book in the Public Opinion Quarterly, thought that "one nice feature of Ten Thousand Democracies is that all technical details are relegated to the appendices. The authors do an excellent job of documenting and justifying their methods while leaving the body of the text easily accessible to the readers more interested in what they find than in how they did it. This is a landmark work in the study of the linkages between public opinion and public policy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Political Science Review, March, 1995, Paul Brace, review of The State Roots of National Politics: Congress and the Tax Agenda, 1978-1986, p. 197.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, June, 1994, A.D. McNitt, review of The State Roots of National Politics, p. 1655; September, 2006, A. Cooley, review of Ten Thousand Democracies: Politics and Public Opinion in America's School Districts, p. 166.
Journal of Politics, November, 1995, Thomas H. Little, review of The State Roots of National Politics, p. 1181.
Midwest Book Review, April, 2006, review of Ten Thousand Democracies.
Political Science Quarterly, spring, 2007, Kenneth K. Wong, review of Ten Thousand Democracies.
Political Studies, December, 1996, Joseph Hogan, review of The State Roots of National Politics, p. 959.
Public Opinion Quarterly, spring, 2007, Gerald C. Wright, review of Ten Thousand Democracies.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2006, review of Ten Thousand Democracies.
Pennsylvania State University, Department of Political Science Web site,http://polisci.la.psu.edu/ (December 9, 2007), author profile.