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Laura Langbein

Department of Public Administration and Policy

  • Professor Langbein teaches quantitative methods, program evaluation, policy analysis, and public choice. Her research fields include: theories of bureaucratic discretion, productivity, principal-agent models, social capital, and cooperation in the workplace; theories of influence of interest groups in Congress and the bureaucracy; empirical applications in various policy areas, including the environment, education, defense, housing, criminal justice (death penalty and police), and corruption. Her articles have appeared in numerous journals on politics, economics, policy analysis and public administration. Her most recent publications examine the consequences of varying levels of discretion in federal agencies, and the World Bank’s measurement of corruption in countries.
  • Degrees

    PhD Political Science, University of North Carolina
    BA Government, Oberlin College

  • SPA - Public Admin and Policy
  • Ward - 346
  • Tuesday, 2-6; Thursday 2-5

  • (202) 885-6233
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    at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • Langbein, L., Soss, J., & Metelko, A. 2003. “Why Do White Americans Support the Death Penalty?” Journal of Politics 65(2):397-421.   
  • Langbein, L. 2003. "Bureaucratic Discretion." In Charles K. Rowley and Friedrich Schneider, eds., Encyclopedia of Public Choice, Vol. II Kluwer, pp. 53-58.   
  • Langbein, L., & Spotswood-Bright, K. 2004. "Private Governments: The Efficiency and Accountability of Residential Community Associations" Social Science Quarterly 85(3):640-659.   
  • Langbein, L. & Jorstad, C, 2004. “Trust and Productivity in the Workplace: Cops, Collusion, Communication, and Cooperation.” Political Research Quarterly 57(1):65-79.   
  • Langbein, L. 2005. "Controlling Residential Community Associations." Regulation Magazine.   
  • Langbein, L. 2005. “Public School Music: Notes on the Public Provision of a Quasi-Private Good.” Public Choice 121(1-2):83-98.
  • Langbein, L. 2008. "Management by Results: Student Evaluation of Faculty Teaching and the Mis-measurement of Performance." Economics of Education Review 27(4): 417-428.   
  • Langbein, L. & Knack, S. 2008. “The World Governance Indicators and Tautology: Causally Related Separable Concepts, Indicators of a Common Cause, or Both?" Policy Research Working Paper WPS4669, World Bank Development Research Group.   
  • Langbein, L. 2009. “Beyond Random Assignment for Internal Validity and Beyond Social Research for Random Assignment.” Invited Comment: Point and Counterpoint on the Role of Random Assignment in Social Policy Research. Journal of Policy Analysis And Management 28(1):173-174.   
  • Langbein, L. 2009. "Controlling Federal Agencies: The Impact of External Controls on Worker Discretion and Productivity." International Public Management Journal 12 (1): 82-115
  • Langbein, L. and Mark Yost 2009. "Same-Sex Marriage and Negative Externalities." Social Science Quarterly, 90 (2), June: 292-309.   
  • Langbein, L. and Kimberly Cowell-Meyers 2009. "Linking Women's Descriptive and Substantive Representation in the American States." Politics and Gender 5 (4), Dec.: 491-518.   
  • Langbein, L. and Steve Knack (2010). "The World Governance Indicators: Six, One, or None?" Journal of Development Studies 46 (2) Feb.: 350-370.   
  • Langbein, L. 2010 "Economics, Public Service Motivation and Pay for Performance: Complements or Substitutes?" International Public Management Journal 13 (1): 1-15.
  • Public Program Evaluation:  A Statistical Guide 2nd Ed. (M.E. Sharpe, Inc.), 2012.
  • “Ownership, Empowerment and Productivity: Some Empirical Evidence on The Causes and Consequences of Employee Discretion,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 19 (3), 2000:  427-449.  Reprinted in JPAM Classics of Public Management, 2012.
  • “Measuring ‘Women-Friendly’ Public Policy” (with Kimberly Cowell-Meyers). Journal of Women, Politics and Policy (34:2) April, 2013
  • “Vive La Difference! The Effects of Workplace Diversity on Job Performance and Employee Satisfaction” (with Ed Stazyk) International Public Management Journal 16, 4: Dec. 2013, lead article: 465-503.
  • “The Shape of Corruption: Colombia as a Case Study” (with Pablo Sanabria), Journal of Development Studies. 49 (11), Nov. 2013: 1500-1513. DOI:10.1080/00220388.2013.800858
  • “The Effect of Primary School Size on Academic Achievement” (with Seth Gershenson, first author), Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 37(1S): 135S-155S), May 2015
  • “Still No Evidence of Negative Outcomes from Same-Sex Marriage,” (with Mark Yost), Econ Journal Watch 12 (2),May 2015: 161-163.
  • “Performance Management, High Powered Incentives and Environmental Policies in China” (with Jaiqi Liang). International Public Management Journal 2015. DOI: 10.1080/10967494.2015.1043167. (Lead article, with special editorial commendation.)

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

Recipient, 2009 Accenture Advances in Public Management award, for “Controlling Federal Agencies: The Impact of External Controls on Worker Discretion and Productivity.”

International Public Management Journal 12 (1) 2009: 82-115.


Work In Progress

“For Love or Money? Pay-For- Performance in the Federal Government” (with Ed Stazyk; under review)

“School Size, Disorder and Student Achievement” (with Lynn Bauer), under review)

“Independent Professional Bureaucracies and Corruption:  Evidence from Latin America” (with Pablo Sanabria) (under review)

“The Anatomy of Retention in the Federal Government:  Why Do Productive Workers Stay?” (with Ed Stazyk), in progress

“A Value-Added Panel Analysis of the Effects of School Size on Student Achievement” (with Seth Gershonsen). Under review for (refereed) presentation at AERA Annual Meeting, 2013.

“Norms and Corruption” (with Pablo Sanabria)

“High Powered Environmental Incentives in China:  Do the Nomenklatura Produce?” (with Jaiqi Liang)

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