Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and 
Political Science and 
Director of MPA Program
Brown University 

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
111 Thayer Street  Box 1970
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912-1970

Biographical sketch

I am the Julis Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and Political Science and Director of the Master of Public Affairs Program at Brown University, based at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

I am the editor of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. I am also Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. I previously held faculty positions at University of Virginia, UCLA and Yale.

I received my PhD (political science) and MPP from University of California, Berkeley.  


My research examines the politics of American national policymaking, focusing on healthcare, policy reform, implementation, and Congress. 

My latest book (with Alan Gerber and Conor Dowling) is Unhealthy Politics: The Battle over Evidence Medicine (Princeton University Press, 2017), which received both the Don K. Price Book Award of the American Political Science Association and the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration. A Vox article summarizing the project is hereA Health Affairs article from the project is here

My previous books include Reforms at Risk: What Happens After Major Policy Changes Are Enacted (Princeton University Press, 2008), which received the Louis Brownlow Book Award of the National Academy of Public Administration; Congress and Policy Making in the 21st Century  (co-edited with Jeffery A. Jenkins, Cambridge University Press, 2016); Living Legislation: Durability, Change and the Politics of American Lawmaking (co-edited with Jeffery A. Jenkins, University of Chicago Press, 2012); Promoting the General Welfare: New Perspectives on Government Performance (co-edited with Alan Gerber, Brookings Institution Press, 2006) and Putting Trust in the U.S. Budget: Federal Trust Funds and the Politics of Commitment (Cambridge University Press, 2000; Chinese translation 2009).

I am also the coauthor (with Eugene Bardach) of the 5th edition of the textbook, A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving (CQ Press, 2016). Look for a new edition in September 2019!

My essays have appeared in Perspectives on PoliticsPolitical Science QuarterlyGovernanceP.S., Policy SciencesHealth AffairsJournal of Health Politics, Policy & LawSocial Service Review, and in many edited volumes. 


I teach courses on policy analysis, health politics and policy, leadership and public management, the politics of policy-making, Congress, bureaucracy, and the U.S. welfare state, and system dynamics. I received the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching at UVA.

Academic Administration

I currently serve as Director of the Master of Public Affairs Program at the Watson Institute. Previously, I played a key role in the design and launch of UVA's Batten School, which was made possible by a $100M endowment gift in 2007. 

Eric Patashnik photo


My wife Deborah Gordon is a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute who studies energy and environmental policy, including the climate impacts of the oil sector. My son Michael is a software engineer at Google and my son Josh is a strategy analyst at Revenue Analytics. 


      My CV is here