Thomas A. Birkland

North Carolina State University
Office for Research, CHASS

Campus Box 8115
2526 Hillsborough Street Ste 102
Raleigh, NC
27695 |  Visit Personal Website

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My current research involves applying the Narrative Policy Framework to understanding the evolution of disaster policy in the United States.

Birkland, T. A., and S. E. DeYoung. 2011. “Emergency Response, Doctrinal Confusion, and Federalism in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 41 (3): 471–93.
Abstract: The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was accompanied by intergovernmental blame casting and criticisms similar to that of Hurricane Katrina. The federal response was often viewed as slow, state officials were unsure of their role, and local officials complained that they were not adequately consulted. However, natural and oil pollution disasters have relief and regulatory regimes based on doctrines different from those governing natural disasters. This article discusses those doctrines one of which is characterized by “shared power”; the other reflects greater federal direction. The balance of national and state powers inherent in federalism can also lead to confusion and delay in disaster response, particularly when there are overlapping laws and programs and unrealistic state and local expectations.
DOI: 10.1093/publius/pjr011
Comfort, L. K., Thomas A. Birkland, B. A. Cigler, and E. Nance. 2010. “Retrospectives and Prospectives on Hurricane Katrina: Five Years and Counting.” Public Administration Review 70 (5): 669–78.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6210.2010.02194.x
Birkland, Thomas A., and Sarah Waterman. 2008. “Is Federalism the Reason for Policy Failure in Hurricane Katrina?” Publius 38 (4): 692–714.
DOI: 10.1093/publius/pjn020
Birkland, Thomas A., and Warnement, Megan K. 2014. “Focusing Events in Disasters and Development.” In Disaster and Development, edited by Naim Kapucu and Kuotsai Tom Liou, 39–60. New York: Springer International Publishing.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. "Disasters, Lessons Learned, and Fantasy Documents." Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 17(3): 146-156.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2010. “Federal Disaster Policy Learning, Priorities, and Prospects for Resilience.” In Arjen Boin, Louise Comfort, and Chris Demchak, eds., Designing Resilience: Preparing for Extreme Events (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press).
Birkland, Thomas A. 2004. “Learning and Policy Improvement After Disaster: The Case of Aviation Security.” American Behavioral Scientist 48 (3): 341–64.
DOI: 10.1177/0002764204268990.
Birkland, Thomas A. and Megan Warnement. 2015. “Critical Infrastructure in Extreme Events,” in Controversies in Science and Technology, 4th ed., Daniel Lee Kleinman, Karen A. Cloud-Hansen, and Jo Handlesman, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, Chapter 3.
Warnement, Megan K., and Thomas A. Birkland. 2015. "Organizational and Policy Learning: Post Crisis Assessments." In Organizing after Crisis: The Challenge of Learning, edited by Nathalie Schiffino, Laurent Taskin, Céline Donis and Julien Raone, pp. 235-256. Brussels: Peter Lang.
Birkland, Thomas A. and Sarah DeYoung. 2012. “Focusing Events and Policy Windows,” in Routledge Handbook of Public Policy, Eduardo Araral, Scott Fritzen, Michael Howlett, M Ramesh, Xun Wu, eds. London: Routledge.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2015. An Introduction to the Policy Process: Theories, Concepts, and Models of Public Policy Making, 4th ed. (New York: Routledge).
Birkland, Thomas A. 2016. "Attention and Natural Disasters" Chapter 21 in Handbook of Public Policy Agenda Setting, Nikolaos Zahariadis, ed. Cheltenham, UK and Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar.
Birkland, Thomas A. 1997. After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy and Focusing Events. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2006. Lessons of Disaster. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
Birkland, Thomas A., and Warnement, Megan K. 2014. “Critical Infrastructure in Extreme Events.” In Controversies in Science & Technology: From Sustainability to Serveillance, edited by Daniel Lee Kleinman, Karen A Cloud-Hansen, and Jo Handelsman, 33–46. New York: Oxford University Press.
Birkland, Thomas A. 2009. "Disasters, Catastrophes, and Policy Failure in the Homeland Security Era." Review of Policy Research 26 (4): 423-438.
Birkland, Thomas A., and Regina G. Lawrence. 2009. Media Framing and Policy Change after Columbine. American Behavioral Scientist 52 (10): 1405-1429.

Substantive Focus:
Environmental Policy PRIMARY
Defense and Security
Science and Technology Policy SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Policy History
Policy Process Theory PRIMARY
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation SECONDARY