Joseph White

Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy, Director of Graduate Studies

Mather House 113
MW 10:30-12:00

Other Information

Research: Public policy; federal budgeting policy and politics; health care finance in the United States and other rich democracies, especially health care cost control; Social Security and Medicare; Congress.

Training and Academic Appointments

Joe White came to CWRU in 2000 from Tulane University, where he had been Associate Professor of Health Systems Management in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.  Before Tulane, he was first Research Associate and then Senior Fellow in the Governmental Studies Program of the Brookings Institution.  He received his A.B. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Professor White joined CWRU as Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director of the Center for Policy Studies.  During his sabbatical year of 2010-11, Dr. White served as Visiting Professor with the with the Chair in the Economics and Management of Health Services, Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, in Paris.  During Michaelmas Term of 2010 he also served as John G. Winant Visiting Professor of American Government in the Rothermere American Institute of the University of Oxford.  From July 2003 through June of 2015 he was Chair of the CWRU Department of Political Science

Teaching and Programming

Professor White in recent years has taught courses on The U.S. Political System; Health Care Politics and Policy in the U.S.; Bureaucratic Politics in the U.S.; The American Presidency. Interest Groups in the Policy Process; and Politics: Participation and Power.  He has also taught courses on The Public Policy Process; Legislative Politics; and Politics, Policy and Tobacco, and in Summer of 2015 is teaching on The Battle of the Budget.  As Director of the Center for Policy Studies, Professor White convenes the Friday Public Affairs lunch discussions, which meet 28 times per year with speakers leading discussion of a very wide range of issues.   The CPS also hosts several special events each year (see!)


Dr. White is the author of three books, coeditor of two books, and has published more than seventy articles and book chapters.  His work can be divided, roughly, into five related categories: budget politics and policy within the United States, comparisons of health care policies across advanced industrial democracies, the politics of health care reform in the United States;  health care cost control, and Social Security and Medicare policy and politics.    His books are:

The Deficit and the Public Interest: The Search for Responsible Budgeting in the 1980s, with Aaron Wildavsky. (Berkeley and New York: The University of California Press and The Russell Sage Foundation, 1991)

Competing Solutions: American Health Care Proposals and International Experience.  (Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 1995)

False Alarm: Why the Greatest Threat to Social Security and Medicare is the Campaign to “Save” Them.  (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

Dr. White’s most recent research has included work with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Joint Network on the Sustainability of Health Care Systems, and research about the practice and reforms of “earmarking” in the U.S. Congress.  He is currently writing a book about U.S. federal budgeting policy and politics.

Service and Honors

In addition to his service as department Chair and CPS Director, Dr. White has served on and as Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Committee on Appointments, Strategic Planning Steering Committee, and Budget Subcommittee, and as College representative to the former University Budget Committee.    He has served on the Councils of the American Political Science Association Organized Section on Health Politics and Policy, and Organized Section on Public Policy.  In 2014 he received the Aaron Wildavsky Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement from the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management.


Born in Brookline, MA, Joe lives in Shaker Heights with his wife, Sydelle Zinn and their daughter, Abby – except that Abby leaves for College in August of 2015.  After 15 years in Cleveland, Joe now joins Abby in rooting for local sports teams, though if the Red Sox are involved that remains difficult.

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