Laura Langbein

American University
Public Administration and Policy

4400 Massachusetts Av. N.W.
Dept. Public Admin and Policy
Washington, D.C.

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Professor Langbein teaches quantitative methods, program evaluation, policy analysis, and public choice. Her research fields include: theories of bureaucratic discretion, productivity, principal-agent models, social capital, and cooperation in the workplace; theories of influence of interest groups in Congress and the bureaucracy; empirical applications in various policy areas, including the environment, education, defense, housing, criminal justice (death penalty and police), and corruption. Her recent articles have appeared in Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Evaluation Review, Public Choice, Public Administration Review, Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, International Public Management Journal, and other scholarly journals. She has published articles on the demand for music programs in the public schools and on the academic consequences of differences in school size; on the comparison of negotiated to conventional rule making at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and on the consequences of high powered performance systems for implementation of environmental standards in China. She is studying the consequences of varying levels of discretion in federal agencies, the measurement and incidence of corruption in countries, and role of employee voice in public employee turnover. A revised version of her textbook, Program Evaluation: A Statistical Guide (Routledge) appeared in 2012. Her 2009 SSQ article on Same-Sex Marriage was cited as evidence in the Proposition 8 decision by the California Supreme Court. Her most recent research focuses on corruption in Latin America and in China, and on the non-monetary drivers of employee retention in the public sector.

“Independent Professional Bureaucracies and Corruption: Evidence from Latin America” (with Pablo Sanabria), Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (2016). Available at
Abstract: Using a difference-in -difference design, we find that changes at the national level in laws to make bureaucracies more professional and independent, and changes in their implementation, in Latin American countries do not reduce bribe requests from public workers at the local level
Laura Langbein and Pablo Sanabria. 2013. “The Shape of Corruption: Colombia as a Case Study." Journal of Development Studies 49 (11):1500- 1513.
DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2013.800858
Laura Langbein and Steve Knack. 2010. “The World Governance Indicators: Six, One, or None?” Journal of Development Studies 46 (2):350-370.
Langbein, Laura. 2010. “Economics, Public Service Motivation and Pay for Performance: Complements or Substitutes?” International Public Management Journal 13 (1):1-15.
Laura Langbein and Edmond Stazyk. 2013. “ Vive La Difference! The Effects of Workplace Diversity on Job Performance and Employee Satisfaction” International Public Management Journal 16 (4):465-503.
Langbein, Laura, and Mark Yost. 2009. "Same-Sex Marriage and Negative Externalities." Social Science Quarterly 90 (2):292-309.
Langbein, Laura. 2008. "Management by Results: Student Evaluation of Faculty Teaching and the Mis-Measurement of Performance." Economics of Education Review 27 (4):417-428.
Langbein, Laura. 2009. "Controlling Federal Agencies: The Impact of External Controls on Worker Discretion and Productivity." International Public Management Journal 12 (1):82-115.
Langbein, Laura and Jaiqi Laing. “Performance Management, High Powered Incentives and Environmental Policies in China.” International Public Management Journal 2015.

Substantive Focus:
Education Policy SECONDARY
Governance PRIMARY
Comparative Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY