Director, Master of Public Affairs Program and 
Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and 
Political Science, 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 Director of the Master of Public Affairs Program and Julis-Rabinowitz Professor of Public Policy and Political Science 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 in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at University of Virginia, the Department of Political Science at Yale University, and the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA. 

I received my PhD and MPP from University of California, Berkeley.  


My research examines the politics of American national policymaking, focusing on healthcare, fiscal politics, 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).  The project was supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (press release) and the Smith Richardson Foundation. My Vox article 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 from the National Academy of Public Administration. 

My other books and edited volumes include: 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 Bardarch) of the 5th edition of the textbook, A Practical Guide for Policy Analysis: The Eightfold Path to More Effective Problem Solving (CQ Press, 2016). 

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. As the School's first Associate Dean and then Acting Dean, I worked with colleagues on the creation of research centers; the opening of behavioral science labs; the establishment of new degree programs; and the recruitment of a talented, multidisciplinary faculty. I also served as Director of UVA's Center for Health Policy.


Eric Patashnik photo

My wife Deborah Gordon is Director of the Energy and Climate Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.    


      My CV is here