Document Type

Book Review


Book Review: Public Policy: A Yearbook of the Graduate School of Public Administration, Harvard University, 8 University of Chicago Law Review 169 (1940)


Public Policy is a new yearbook, representing the tone of conversation and research at the Graduate School of Public Administration at Harvard. We are told that at Cambridge they have almost "integrated" the so-called social sciences. Economists and students of government, lawyers and political theorists live and labor together on problems of common interest, cheerfully sharing their several mysteries. Despite the idyllic propaganda, however, the first product of this association is healthy and interesting.

Viewed as a whole, the collection leaves one strong impression. The contributors are surprisingly united in their interest and in their conclusions. They are concerned chiefly with the changing relation of the American state to the life of the American economy. Almost all the essays are addressed to the decisions of domestic policy which confronted the government in the doldrum period of the New Deal, just before the war. Commenting on the problems of that remote time, the contributors to Public Policy accept it as axiomatic that the state has a heightened responsibility for trade, employment, and economic welfare generally. By and large, they are optimists in agreeing that the state has at its disposal political instruments with which such an enlarged responsibility can be fulfilled; they are gradualists in contending that a measure of stability in employment could have been achieved in pre-war United States (and may be hoped for in the post-war commonwealth) without great changes in the institutional or political fabric of society.

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