The decentralization of public policy from the federal government
to state and local governments offers increased opportunities for
ordinary citizens to participate directly in public policymaking.
Yet these opportunities may not be equally shared. Due to a variety
of factors, low-income citizens have long been denied a meaningful
role in the public life and governance of our country.
By contrast, the essays in this volume explore how low-income
citizens have successfully affected public policy. The book is
built around six case studies, all from Texas, that cover education
finance and reform, local infrastructure provision, environmental
protection, and indigent health care.
This research illuminates several issues of national
importance, including how communities gain standing and recognition
for themselves and their issues, how policy agendas are defined,
how communities mobilize technical and institutional resources, and
how they form coalitions and alliances to accomplish their
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