World Politics

Review Articles

American Business, Public Policy, Case-Studies, and Political Theory

Theodore J. Lowia1

a1 Cornell University

Raymond A. Bauer, Ithiel de Sola Pool, and Lewis A. Dexter, American Business and Public Policy: The Politics of Foreign Trade, New York, Atherton Press, 1963, 499 pp. $8.95.

Case-Studies of the policy-making process constitute one of the more important methods of political science analysis. Beginning with Schattschneider, Herring, and others in the 1930's, case-studies have been conducted on a great variety of decisions. They have varied in subject-matter and format, in scope and rigor, but they form a distinguishable body of literature which continues to grow year by year. The most recent addition, a book-length study by Raymond Bauer and his associates, stands with Robert A. Dahl's prize-winning Who Governs? (New Haven 1961) as the best yet to appear. With its publication a new level of sophistication has been reached. The standards of research its authors have set will indeed be difficult to uphold in the future. American Business and Public Policy is an analysis of political relationships within the context of a single, well-defined issue—foreign trade. It is an analysis of business attitudes, strategies, communications and, through these, business relationships in politics. The analysis makes use of the best behavioral research techniques without losing sight of the rich context of policies, traditions, and institutions. Thus, it does not, in Dahl's words, exchange relevance for rigor; rather it is standing proof that the two—relevance and rigor—are not mutually exclusive goals.

Theodore J. Lowi, Assistant Professor of Government at Cornell University, was on leave during the 1963–1964 academic term as a SSRC Fellow and Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, working on Arenas of Power. His most recent publication is At the Pleasure of the Mayor: Patronage and Power in New York City, 1898–1958 (1964).