*This is the introduction to a symposium on Jed Stiglitz’s “The Reasoning State.” For other posts in the series, click here.
We’ve been on a roll with symposia here at the Notice & Comment Blog! Last week we wrapped a truly remarkable series of essays about Peter Shane’s Democracy’s Chief Executive, ably organized by Andrea Scoseria Katz.
We are so fortunate to kick off another symposium today, this time on Jed Stiglitz’s The Reasoning State. Stiglitz’s book arrives at a moment when the administrative state is facing a number of existential challenges. Defenders of the modern and robust role of agencies might find an intellectual lifeline in Stiglitz’s new rationale for the administrative state. Rather than justifying agencies on the idea that they possess expertise to produce answers to thorny problems, the idea is that agencies’ real justification comes from their ability to move thorny problems through a process in which reasons are expressed, they compete, and they ultimately yield legitimate choices. Under this view, Congress made agencies to be the stewards of this process, and far from punting hard issues to agencies (a standard complaint), Congress instead commits them to the administrative process to achieve better outcomes than Congress could achieve itself. It’s a provocative set of ideas that arrives right on time.
We have a fantastic and interdisciplinary group lined up for this week-long symposium:
- Anya Bernstein, University of Buffalo
- Michael Livermore, University of Virginia
- David Lewis, Vanderbilt University
- Roger Noll, Stanford University
- Molly Reynolds, Brookings
- Bijal Shah, Boston College
- Kevin Stack, Vanderbilt University
- Chris Walker, University of Michigan
And of course we’ll hear from Jed, too! We hope you enjoy this series of posts on Jed’s innovative, well-researched, and important new contribution to the public debate on the administrative state.