Dissertation Title: Making the Political Private: State Visibility, Health Policy, and Trust in Government
Committee: Matthew Levendusky (Co-chair), Marc Meredith (Co-chair), Adolph Reed
Over the past half-century, much of the growth in government programs has been carried out by non-state actors, creating the so-called hidden or submerged state. My dissertation investigates whether this privatization influences people’s understanding of when they are interacting with a government program, and it traces how these perceptions shape evaluations of the political system.
This inquiry is fundamentally an assessment of the relationship between policy design and democratic accountability. I show how the administration of public policies can fracture the basic premise of democratic accountability by distorting perceptions of what government is doing and when government affects you personally, and I demonstrate how these distortions have tangible consequences for how people evaluate government. I use the movement toward Medicaid managed care and recent changes to contraceptive regulations – policies which disproportionately impact low-income women – to pursue this line of inquiry.
This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and The Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics.