Saundra K. Schneider

Michigan State University
Political Science

South Kedzie Hall, 368 Farm Lane, S315
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI
48824 |  Visit Personal Website

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My current research focuses on four main topics: The public policy priorities of the American states; the governmental response to natural disasters; administrative influences on social welfare program developments; and the linkage between public opinion and public policy. In all of these areas, I am interested in the interactions between administrative policy-makers on the one hand and the broader governmental system and social structure on the other.

Schneider, Saundra K., and William G. Jacoby. 2009. “A New Measure of Policy Spending Priorities in The American States.” Political Analysis 17 (1): 1-24.
Abstract: In this paper, we develop and test a general measure of policy expenditures in the American states. Our approach is to construct a spatial proximity model of yearly state program spending. The empirical analysis reveals that state spending patterns vary along a clear and readily-interpretable unidimensional continuum which differentiates policies that provide particularized benefits to needy constituencies from policies that provide broader collective goods. Based upon standard evaluative criteria, the variable created from our model possesses some highly desirable characteristics. And, it compares favorably to other measures of state policy activity. The net result is a yearly score for each state which summarizes that state's spending across all major program areas. More generally, we believe that our variable can be interpreted as valid and reliable representational measurement of state policy priorities. In this capacity, it could occupy an important position within models of state politics.
Schneider, Saundra K., William G. Jacoby, and Daniel C. Lewis. 2011. “Public Opinion Toward Intergovernmental Policy Responsibilities.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 41 (1): 1-30.
Abstract: This study examines public opinion toward the policy responsibilities of the national, state, and local governments. We use new data from a national survey to analyze citizens? attitudes toward the general and policy-specific activities of the respective governmental levels. We find that people want all levels of government to do more. But, they also differentiate among national, state, and local responsibilities for particular policy areas. In fact, public opinion corresponds quite closely to actual policy efforts manifested at different governmental levels. Moreover, citizens preferences for specific programmatic activities are guided by a combination of general beliefs about governmental responsibilities and assessments of economic capacities. These findings have important theoretical and practical implications for understanding the American intergovernmental system.
Schneider, Saundra K. 2011. Dealing With Disaster: Public Management in Crisis Situations. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
Abstract: The central question of the study is a straightforward one: Why does the government handle some disasters successfully, but seem to fail miserably in other situations? In order to answer this question, I look at eight natural disasters in multiple locales across the United States from 1989 to 2010. The case studies demonstrate that governmental performance in disaster relief depends upon the match or mismatch that develops between bureaucratic behavior and citizens? expectations. When governmental preparations match the expectations of the disaster-stricken population, the response process works well. However, when there is a mismatch, discrepancy, the gap between the bureaucratic activity of government agencies and the expectations of affected citizens, the response process stalls, stumbles, or breaks down completely.

Substantive Focus:
Health Policy SECONDARY
Social Policy PRIMARY
Comparative Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation PRIMARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation
Public Opinion SECONDARY