making local government more ethical

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Book Reviews

Robert Wechsler

In their book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Crown, 2010), Chip and Dan Heath focus on three general ways to shape the path toward change:  tweak the environment, build habits, and rally the herd.

Rallying the herd means letting people know what others are doing. When most people do something, the others generally follow on their own or can be...
Robert Wechsler
There is a great deal of thought-provoking material in Chip and Dan Heath's book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Crown, 2010). Change has proved hard in every single city and county in the United States. Those seeking government ethics reform can learn a lot from this book.

There are two different types of change involved in government ethics. One involves...
Robert Wechsler

In memory of Albert O.Hirschman, an important economist and political scientist who died last month, I want to apply some of the ideas from his most famous book, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty (1970), to local government ethics (...
Robert Wechsler

I don't talk much in this blog or in my book Local Government Ethics Programs about character. However, there is another approach to government ethics that is sometimes referred to as "the character approach." For example, the Josephson Institute trains local officials on the six pillars of character. There are ethics codes, too, that take a character approach to...
Robert Wechsler

This second of two posts on Michael Sandel's new book, What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (Farrar Straus, 2012), includes a few fascinating takes on different aspects of government ethics, including preferential treatment, municipal marketing, skyboxes, and the sensitive topic of inappropriate incentives.

A Fresh Way of Looking at Preferential Treatment
Sandel...
Robert Wechsler
Harvard professor Michael Sandel's new book What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets (Farrar Straus, 2012) has a lot to say about the effect of commercial, market values on American culture, including on American government. Sandel's book focuses on "the expansion of markets, and of market values, into spheres of life where they don't belong. … We need to ask whether there are some things money should...

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