Dr. Paul C. Light is NYU Wagner’s Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service and founding principal investigator of the Global Center for Public Service. Before joining NYU, Dr. Light served as the Douglas Dillon Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, founding director of its Center for Public Service, and vice president and director of the Governmental Studies Program. He has served previously as director of the Public Policy Program at the Pew Charitable Trusts and associate dean and professor of public affairs at the University of Minnesota’s Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
Light is the author of 25 books, including works on social entrepreneurship, the nonprofit sector, federal government reform, public service, and the baby boom. His most recent book is Government by Investigation: Presidents, Congress, and the Search for Answers, 1945-2012 (2014). His award winning books include The President’s Agenda: Domestic Policy Choice from Kennedy to Clinton (1982), Thickening Government: Federal Hierarchy and the Diffusion of Accountability(1995), The Tides of Reform: Making Government Work, 1945-1995 (1997), and A Government Ill Executed: The Decline of the Federal Service and How to Reverse It 2008). A Government Ill Executed received the American Political Science Association’s Herbert Simon Award for the most important book on public administration in the preceding three-to-five years upon publication. Light is also a co-author of a best-selling American government textbook, Government by the People. His research interests include: bureaucracy, civil service, Congress, entitlement programs, executive branch, government reform, nonprofit effectiveness, organizational change, and the political appointment process.