The Politics of Institutional Reform
In this ground breaking analysis,
Terry M. Moe treats Hurricane Katrina as a natural experiment that offers a rare opportunity to learn about the role of power
in the politics of institutional reform. When Katrina hit, it physically destroyed New Orleans' school buildings, but it also
destroyed the vested-interest power that had protected the city's abysmal education system from major reform. With the constraints
of power lifted, decision makers who had been incremental problem-solvers turned into revolutionaries, creating the most innovative
school system in the entire country. The story of New Orleans' path from failure to revolution is fascinating, but, more importantly,
it reveals the true role of power, whose full effects normally cannot be observed, because power has a 'second face' that
is hidden and unobservable. Making use of Katrina's analytic leverage, Moe pulls back the curtain to show that this "second
face" has profound consequences that stifle and undermine society's efforts to fix failing institutions.
1. Power, vested interests, and the politics of institutional reform; 2. Before Katrina: the normal politics of reform; 3.
After Katrina: reform with the lid off; 4. Protecting the revolution: toward a new normal; 5. Learning from Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina as a natural experiment, Moe explores New Orleans education reform to reveal how political power shapes
efforts to fix failing institutions.