Edward C. Banfield, Model Cities a Step Toward the New Federalism (Washington: Government Printing Office, August 1970)

Edward C. Banfield chaired this task force, which included James Q. Wilson (a former student of his), Richard Lugar (then Mayor of Indianapolis), Professor James Buchanan, and others. The report’s initial paragraphs declare:

Although federal support of the cities has increased sharply in recent years, it has not had the results that were hoped for in those parts of the cities where conditions are worst. This is partly because the biggest federal outlays have been in the suburban fringes and in rural areas. It is also because the federal government has tied too many strings to the aid it has given. Over-regulation has led to waste and frustration.

With about 400 grant-in-aid programs involving roughly $10 billion a year, federal aid to cities is now on such a scale that the federal bureaucracy is incapable of administering it. In the view of the Task Force, most city governments can be trusted to use federal funds in the manner Congress intends, but whether one trusts them or not it is necessary to allow them much more latitude because the alternative is waste and frustration and/or their replacement by a vastly expanded federal-state

You may read the whole report (20 pages) below.


Article: Edward C. Banfield, Ends and Means In Planning

Edward C. Banfield’s “Ends and Means In Planning” was published in 1959.  A decade earlier, Banfield—then a graduate student—was much enamored of government planning.  His 1949 “Congress and the Budget: A Planner’s Criticism,” sharply criticized how Congress appropriated funds.  Banfield thought it was irrational and parochial, and he thought Congress should spend the nation’s wealth according to “a method of allocating funds among competing interests in a manner calculated to achieve the optimum result.”

In the intervening time, Banfield’s analysis of how government and politics work changed greatly.  In “Ends and Means In Planning,” Banfield lays out the stark difference between how planning ought to be conducted and how it actually occurs. “In general organizations engage in opportunistic decision-making rather than in planning…. Moreover, such plans as are made are not the outcome of a careful consideration of alternative courses of action and their probable consequences.” Continue reading “Article: Edward C. Banfield, Ends and Means In Planning”

Are Policy Analysts Nothing More Than Problem Solvers?

According to Banfield—no.  As was noted on the American Enterprise Institute Blog this past year,

Banfield turned upside down the commonplace notion that wonks were politically neutral problem-solvers.  Rather, he wrote, wonks tend to contribute problems not solutions to the political process.  From their perches in academia and the upper echelons of government, social scientists and policy analysts identify “problems” in need of government  attention.

Banfield’s work anticipates Deborah Stone’s in its identification of problems as being socially constructed, and the post-iron-triangle view of the policymaking process. Continue reading “Are Policy Analysts Nothing More Than Problem Solvers?”

Articles and Speeches by Edward C. Banfield

Edward C. Banfield, “The City and the Revolutionary Tradition,” (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1974), speech delivered, April 11, 1974.

Edward C. Banfield, “Policy Science as Metaphysical Madness,” in Robert C. Goldwin, ed., Statesmanship and Bureaucracy (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1977), pp. 1-35.

Edward C. Banfield, “The Zoning of Enterprise,” Cato Journal, vol. 2, no. 2, Aut. 1982, pp. 339-349.

The Pursuit of Happiness: Then and Now: A Conversation with Edward Banfield, Allan Bloom, and Charles Murray,” Public Opinion, May/June 1988, pp. 41-44.

For a full list of Edward C. Banfield’s articles, see James Q. Wilson, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court: A Biography,” Charles R. Kesler, ed., Edward C. Banfield: An Appreciation (Claremont, CA: Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World, 2002), pp. 31-80.