Jacobs, Lawrence R. 1959(?)-
JACOBS, Lawrence R. 1959(?)-
Home—MN. Office—Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail—[email protected]
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Department of Political Science, instructor, 1988-89, assistant professor, 1989-94, associate professor, 1994-2001, associate director of Institute for Social, Economic, and Ecological Sustainability, 2000-03, director of 2004 elections project, 2003-04, director of Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, 2005—, Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute and Department of Political Science, 2005—. Member of J. David Greenstone Book Award Committee, Wildavsky Book Award Committee, and Paper Award Committee; chair of Neustadt Book Award.
Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, 1994-96; Goldsmith Book Prize, Harvard University's Shorenstein Center for Press and Politics, Richard E. Neustadt Book Prize, American Political Science Association, and the Distinguished Book Prize in political sociology, American Sociological Association, all for Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness, 2001; received grants from the Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Russell Sage Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The Health of Nations: Public Opinion and the Making of American and British Health Policy, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1993.
(With Robert Y. Shapiro) Myths and Misunderstandings about Public Opinion toward Social Security: Knowledge, Support, and Reformism, Century Foundation (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Robert Y. Shapiro) Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2000.
(Editor, with Theda Skocpol) Inequality and American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn, Russell Sage (New York, NY), 2005.
(Editor, with James A. Morone) Healty, Wealthy, & Fair: Health Care and the Good Society, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Contributor of reports and scholarly articles to various periodicals and journals, including American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Public Policy & Aging Report. Board member, Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, 1997—, and Presidential Studies Quarterly, 1998—.
Lawrence R. Jacobs holds the Walter F. and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies in the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute and the Department of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, where he is also the director for the Center for Politics and Governance. His areas of research expertise include political science and public policy, and he has written several books on government, policy, and social services, such as social security and health care. Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness, which he wrote with Robert Y. Shapiro, takes a look at the ways in which government succeeds and fails in the United States, addressing the shift in definitions of conservatism and liberal leanings, and how those definitions are interpreted. It also looks at campaigning and how politicians manipulate the public through the use of polls. Carlin Romano wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer that "Jacobs and Shapiro know all the familiar objections to their blunt reversal of a time-honored political truth. If they didn't offer qualifications along the way, they wouldn't be good scholars." Daniel Yankelovich, in a review for the American Prospect, calls Jacobs and Shapiro's effort "one of those valuable books that force us to confront our compartmentalized thinking about politics." He added that "they marshal an impressive body of documentation against the pandering-by-polls platitude, bolstering the claim that today's politicians are busy with agendas that have little to do with the preferences of the vast majority of voters." Andrew Kohut, writing for the Public Opinion Quarterly, had mixed thoughts about the book, stating: "Politicians Don't Pander is a frustrating book. Jacobs and Shapiro should be congratulated for their effort to question the 'top down' models of elite manipulation as well as the 'bottom up' theory that politicians always pander in order to get reelected, both of which are clearly too simplistic. Yet the evidence they offer is tangled, and the merits of their case have to be dug out of a labored and overwritten text."
Presidential Power: Forging the Presidency for the Twenty-first Century, which Jacobs edited with Robert Y. Shapiro and Martha Joynt Kumar, resulted from a conference celebrating the thirty-fifth anniversary of Richard E. Neustadt's book on presidential power. The volume addresses important themes from Neustadt's effort and the ways in which the meaning of power and how it is wielded have changed over the decades. Joel D. Aberbach, in a review for the Presidential Studies Quarterly, remarked: "Presidents seeking to alter the institutional balances in their favor have given us Watergate, Iran-Contra, and other such activities. One clear item on the agenda of twenty-first-century new institutional analysts of the presidency should be greater attention to the problems of maintaining democratic governance in a dynamic system where the president's efforts to mold and alter institutions may be a mixed blessing at best."
Jacobs's earlier work, The Health of Nations: Public Opinion and the Making of American and British Health Policy, was written at the time of President Clinton's focus on a national health-care system but remains relevant in the face of the nation's ongoing health-care difficulties. Steven Rathgeb Smith, in a contribution to the American Political Science Review, wrote: "This important book should be on the bookshelf of any scholar interested in the development of the British and American welfare state, comparative politics, and the impact of public opinion and political culture on public policy."
Jacobs told CA: "I've always been fascinated by politics and been passionate about politics and analyzing it. This fascination with politics drove me to learn how to write. As a kid, I was a terrible writer. My great fortune was to attend Oberlin College and to benefit from a series of devoted faculty who rode me hard until I learned how to write. By the time I left college, I was able to marry my long passion for politics with newfound skills to write.
"Oberlin College and Julie Schumacher are the biggest influences on me. I met Julie our freshman year at Oberlin and we've been together since. Julie shares my passion for writing and is a well-published author. We are both tenured professors now."
Jacobs said of his writing process: "The first step is a question and a puzzle. Then, the hunt for information and data. The last step is sitting down and writing. This is the fastest and easiest stage." Of what he has learned as a writer, he said: "I have been most surprised by how much there is to know. Nearly every project reveals new unknown or poorly understood aspects of politics and political change. The odd part is that a few areas of research continue to get overtilled and over-studied.
"I have a fondness for my first book because of the deeply personal memories wrapped up in its journey. My favorite book is Politicians Don't Pander, written with my longtime colleague and friend Bob Shapiro; it explained how politicians used public opinion research to shape (and not simply follow) the public. What was especially satisfying about writing Politicians Don't Pander is that it generated a readership among academics and laypeople. The book that I think is most important is an edited volume, Inequality and American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn, which I edited with Theda Skocpol. It resulted from a Task Force of the American Political Science Association, which I chaired and which Theda appointed during her presidency of the Association. This volume is the product of a collective enterprise with a terrific group of colleagues who used the best research to state plainly the urgent challenge facing our country—our democracy is being threatened by rising economic inequality."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Political Science Review, December, 1994, Steven Rathgeb Smith, review of The Health of Nations: Public Opinion and the Making of American and British Health Policy, p. 1028.
American Prospect, September 25, 2000, Daniel Yankelovich, review of Politicians Don't Pander: Political Manipulation and the Loss of Democratic Responsiveness, p. 75.
Booklist, May 15, 2000, Mary Carroll, review of Politicians Don't Pander, p. 1706.
Campaigns & Elections, August, 2000, review of Politicians Don't Pander, p. 18.
English Historical Review, April, 1996, Christopher Lawrence, review of The Health of Nations, p. 540.
Lancet, February 19, 1994, Gill Walt, review of The Health of Nations, p. 467.
Philadelphia Inquirer, July 31, 2000, Carlin Romano, review of Politicians Don't Pander.
Political Science Quarterly, summer, 2002, David R. Mayhew, review of Politicians Don't Pander, p. 343.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, December, 2001, Diane J. Heith, review of Politicians Don't Pander, p. 742; June, 2002, Joel D. Aberbach, review of Presidential Power: Forging the Presidency for the Twenty-first Century, p. 432.
Public Opinion Quarterly, summer, 2001, Andrew Kohut, review of Politicians Don't Pander, p. 284.
University of Minnesota Center for the Study of Politics Web site,http://www.hhh.umn.edu/ (November 26, 2006), faculty biography.