Higher Education

State and Local Politics, 4th Edition

  • Todd Donovan Western Washington University
  • Daniel A. Smith University of Florida
  • Tracy Osborn University of Iowa
  • Christopher Z. Mooney University of Illinois, Springfield
  • ISBN-10: 1285441400  |  ISBN-13: 9781285441405
  • 640 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2013, 2011, 2009
  • © 2015 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $159.00



In this Fourth Edition of STATE AND LOCAL POLITICS: INSTITUTIONS AND REFORM, Donovan, Smith, Mooney, and new co-author Tracy Osborne go beyond the purely descriptive treatment usually found in state and local texts. Offering an engaging comparative approach, the Fourth Edition shows students how politics and government differ between states and communities, and points out the causes and effects of those variations. The text also focuses on what social scientists know about the effects of rules and institutions on politics and policy. This comparative, institutional framework enables students to think more analytically about the impact of institutions on policy outcomes, asks them to evaluate the effectiveness of one institutional approach over another, and encourages them to consider more sophisticated solutions. Written by four young, high-profile specialists who have contributed significantly to the field in the last decade, STATE AND LOCAL POLITICS: INSTITUTIONS AND REFORM incorporates the most recent scholarship available into the course, giving students access to perspectives that no other textbook on the market currently provides.

Features and Benefits

  • The only text of its kind to dedicate three full chapters to direct democracy, land use policy, and morality politics, 3 topics at the center of the most significant political battles in the country in recent years.
  • Boxed features elaborate on the themes of institutions, comparison, and reform, providing thought-provoking, concrete examples of the issues at state and local levels so students can understand how institutions and systems affect individuals.
  • "You Decide" features in each chapter ask students to evaluate a real-world situation or compare data and consider the best solutions.
  • Each chapter opens with a current events example that relates to the topic at hand and closes with a "Consider This" feature that asks students to reconsider the opening vignette using the knowledge they have gained from the chapter.
  • Vivid tables, maps, graphs, and photographs provide the visual tools students need to process detailed comparative data about the states.
  • Lively and wide-ranging examples from headlines across the nation illuminate chapter topics. An engaging style excites and informs students, helping them develop the critical-thinking skills that are important for informed citizenship.
  • A thematic emphasis on reform asks students to draw conclusions from what seems to work (and what does not).

Table of Contents

1. Introduction to State and Local Politics.
2. Federalism: State Politics within a Federal System.
3. Participation, Elections, and Representation.
4. State and Local Direct Democracy.
5. Political Parties.
6. Interest Groups.
7. State Legislatures.
8. Governors and the State Bureaucracy.
9. State Courts and the Criminal Justice System.
10. Fiscal Policy.
11. The Structure of Local Governments.
12. Local Land Use and Environmental Politics.
13. Morality Policy.
14. Social Welfare and Health Care Policy.
15. Education Policy.

What's New

  • Learning Objectives now open each chapter, serving as a roadmap of the chapter content, and helping students identify, review, and master the essential concepts.
  • New co-author Tracy Osborn brings her expertise on women and politics, state legislatures, and political behavior to this edition.
  • Updated throughout to include the latest statistics, elections coverage, updates on state economies and budgeting in light of the financial crisis, more discussion on campaign spending after Citizens United, updates on same-sex marriage, a look into states' implementation of the Affordable Care Act, examination of intergovernmental relations, new and updated maps, figures, tables, and photos throughout, and more.
  • Additional coverage of state constitutions, bureaucracies, county government, voter suppression and legislation to break down barriers to voting, and environmental policy.
  • Special emphasis is placed on including current examples that will resonate with students, and topics that students find interesting. Such as, the environment and smart growth and examples of young people participating in their state and local political communities.
  • Streamlined text where possible to offer balanced, manageable chapters, and to facilitate teachable units of material.
  • Scholarship, citations, data, substantive examples, and photographs have been updated with the latest data through 2013, including the 2012 elections results and analysis.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the main title. Select the main title's "About" tab, then select "What's New" for updates specific to title's edition.

For more information about these supplements, or to obtain them, contact your Learning Consultant.

Instructor Supplements

Instructor Companion Site  (ISBN-10: 1285775422 | ISBN-13: 9781285775425)

Everything you need for your course in one place! This collection of book-specific lecture and class tools is available online via www.cengage.com/login. Access and download PowerPoint presentations, images, instructor’s manual, videos, and more.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Todd Donovan

Todd Donovan (Ph.D., University of California, Riverside) is a professor of Political Science at Western Washington University. He teaches state and local politics; American politics, parties, campaigns, and elections; comparative electoral systems; and introductory research methods and statistics. His research interests include direct democracy, election systems and representation, political behavior, subnational politics, and the political economy of local development. He has been published extensively in academic journals; written a number of books on direct democracy, elections, institutions, and reform; and has received numerous grants and awards for his work. He is coauthor (with Ken Hoover) of THE ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC THINKING, also published by Cengage Learning.

Daniel A. Smith

Daniel A. Smith (PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison) is a professor of Political Science at the University of Florida and the former director of UF's Political Campaigning Program. In addition to teaching state and local politics, he offers courses on political parties and interest groups, direct democracy, and the politics of reform. He has published widely on voting rights and election law, campaign finance, direct democracy, political parties, and interests groups. He serves on the board of directors of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center Foundation (BISCF), headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is the author of several books and over 50 articles and book chapters on American politics.

Tracy Osborn

Tracy Osborn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on women and politics in U.S. state legislatures, Congress, and political behavior. Her recent book, How Women Represent Women: Political Parties, Gender, and Representation in the State Legislatures (Oxford University Press, 2012) examines how Democratic and Republican women represent women's issues under different legislative conditions. She has also published articles in Political Research Quarterly, American Politics Research, Politics & Gender, and other journals. She was named a Dean's Scholar by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa in 2012.

Christopher Z. Mooney

Christopher Z. Mooney (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison) is the Honorable W. Russell Arrington Professor of State Politics at the University of Illinois, Springfield. From 1999 to 2007, he served as the founding editor of STATE POLITICS AND POLICY QUARTERLY, the official journal of the State Politics and Policy section of the American Political Science Association. Mooney has authored dozens of books and articles related to legislative politics, morality politics, and policy diffusion. In addition, he often serves as a media commentator on state politics topics, including serving as a regular panelist on State Week in Review, a National Public Radio program broadcast statewide in Illinois. In 2010, in recognition of his scholarship and founding of SPPQ, the APSA endowed the annual Christopher Z. Mooney Award for the best PhD dissertation in the field of state politics.